M. Terry / SFVS

A transient accused in the stabbing death of a security guard at a Sylmar shopping center was charged Tuesday, August 8, with murder.

Santiago Madrigal, 24, pleaded not guilty to the charge, which includes an allegation that he used a knife during the commission of the crime, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The victim was identified in media reports as Joe Lopez, 28, but his identity has not yet been confirmed by the coroner’s office.

The security guard was stabbed Sunday at a shopping center housing a Food 4 Less and CVS pharmacy, among other stores, on Glenoaks Boulevard near Hubbard Street and he died at a hospital.  

Lopez was stabbed while trying to detain Madrigal, who was suspected of stealing beer from the Food 4 Less store, according to Los Angeles Police Department Detective Efren Gutierrez. The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol was told by the store manager that he “could not comment.”   Calls to their corporate office were not returned. 

Residents said they have noticed more homeless people in the area. “Sylmar was once a quiet and safe place to live,” said Emily Carranza, “but not anymore. times have changed. Times have changed and people have changed and you can’t go out like before. Our days of innocence are gone.”

Madrigal is due back in a San Fernando courtroom on Sept. 28, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.