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Suspect in stabbing at Orem Denny's arrested

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Posted at 11:12 PM, Mar 06, 2021

OREM, Utah — Police have arrested a man who they say stabbed multiple people at a Denny's restaurant in Orem Friday.

Joshua Oropeza, 21, faces one charge of attempted murder and three counts of aggravated assault — all second-degree felonies.

According to the arrest report, Oropeza, an Orem resident, went to the restaurant with two other people. They both later told police that Oropeza was acting weird on the way — making strange statements and repeating himself.

When they arrived, one of the individuals went inside the restaurant. The other was outside with Oropeza when he pulled out a knife and attempted to stab him. The victim reportedly sustained a slash wound as he tried to defend himself. The knife cut a tendon in the victim's hand, and he currently has no function in two of his fingers, the report states.

The victim then ran inside the restaurant, where he and the other person tried to block the door and prevent Oropeza from getting in. They were unsuccessful, and Oropeza chased the victim into the kitchen area. Oropeza then stabbed him in the back of the neck, just missing his spinal column, police say. The wound was "approximately 1 inch from being a fatal wound," according to the probable cause statement.

The other individual ran away to safety. He later told police it looked like Oropeza was under the influence of narcotic drugs.

A person inside the restaurant saw the commotion and went to try and help. He told police he was trying to separate Oropeza from the victim as they were on the ground when he believes he heard the suspect say he was going to kill the first victim. As he tried to disarm him, he says Oropeza stabbed him in the arm. According to the police report, a doctor told the second victim that "he was stabbed with such force, it chipped a piece off of his arm bone."

Another witness, who was eating with the second victim, also ran to help. He told police Oropeza tried to stab him in the process, but missed.

One more person then tried to help the others get control of the suspect. He said that as they rolled Oropeza over from his stomach onto his back, Oropeza wrapped his legs around the victim's lower leg. He felt his ankle "pop," and an x-ray later revealed that his ankle was broken.

Police say this isn't the first time Oropeza has been arrested in connection with a stabbing. In December of 2016, he reportedly stabbed two strangers. After asking the victims for a ride, he offered to sell drugs to the driver, police say. When the driver then declined to give him a ride, Oropeza allegedly stabbed him and the female passenger multiple times. He pleaded guilty to one second-degree felony charge of aggravated assault and was released in August 2020.

Oropeza also has unresolved misdemeanor charges from an incident in December 2020 involving drug distribution, intoxication, interfering with an arresting officer, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

He is now being held without bail.