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Dec. 2, 2023

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Man sentenced to 14¼ years for stabbing at another man about two dozen times outside Vancouver church

2022 attack caught on surveillance video

By , Columbian staff reporter

A transient man was sentenced Wednesday to 14¼ years in prison for stabbing at another transient man about two dozen times in February 2022 outside a central Vancouver church.

Alex Edward Luna, 27, pleaded guilty last week in Clark County Superior Court to first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. He was originally charged with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree robbery. The 171-month sentence was at the top of his sentencing range, court records show.

The victim, identified as David Paiva, then 38, suffered two stab wounds to the right arm and three to his back, court records state.

Vancouver police were dispatched at about 3 a.m. Feb. 15, 2022, to a fast-food restaurant in the 2100 block of East Fourth Plain Boulevard after the caller reported finding a stabbing victim. Officers learned the stabbing occurred on the steps of River City Church, 2400 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., according to a probable cause affidavit.

Paiva told police he was stabbed with a large, serrated military-style knife. The stabbing suspect was described as a man with a beard and shaggy hair, wearing shorts and all black clothing, the affidavit says.

Officers found Luna, who appeared to match the suspect’s description, walking through the nearby Waterworks Park, court records say.

Police said they found two knives in Luna’s possession: a 12-inch, serrated knife and a 7-inch knife, according to the affidavit.

A surveillance camera at the church captured video and audio of the stabbing. It shows an assailant, later identified by authorities as Luna, approaching Paiva as he sleeps on the steps of the church. Luna then begins rummaging through Paiva’s shopping cart. Paiva awakes and yells at Luna not to touch his belongings, court records say.

The affidavit states Luna “stabs (Paiva) approximately seven times with the large black knife in his right hand and then seamlessly brings his left hand up with a second knife and stabs eight more times with both knives.”

Paiva was able to get away. Luna is seen less than a minute later removing items from Paiva’s shopping cart before walking away, according to the affidavit.

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