‘He is a danger to the community.’ Stabbing spree suspect enters plea from hospital

Handcuffed to a hospital bed, 28-year-old Arturo Acosta on Thursday pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of assault and attempted murder after going on a stabbing spree in downtown Fresno earlier this week.

Acosta is accused of stabbing six people, all of whom are believed to be homeless, on Monday afternoon. They are expected to recover from their injuries.

Police found Acosta, an alleged Bulldog gang member, walking towards the intersection of Fresno and E Streets with a long knife in his hand. A good Samaritan tried to disarm Acosta before police arrived but was unsuccessful.

An officer’s body cam video shows a shirtless Acosta, knife in hand, as he approaches several officers in middle of Fresno Street. Acosta starts stabbing himself in the torso before officers use less-than-lethal methods to get him to the ground and handcuff him.

Prosecutor Andrew Janz said Acosta was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana. Acosta remains hospitalized at Community Regional Medical Center where he was arraigned by Judge James Kelley. Acosta is under the watch of two Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies. Janz said Acosta has already attacked a hospital employee.

Kelley ordered Acosta held without bail at the request of Janz.

“He is a danger to the community,” Janz said. “He tried to kill six people in downtown Fresno with a knife and he tried to hurt himself.”

Acosta is charged with six counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He also faces felony counts of resisting a police officer and assault likely to produce great bodily harm.

He has a felony conviction for robbery in 2015 and was in the Fresno County Jail as recently as Oct. 10.

If found guilty on all charges, Acosta faces 130 years in prison.

Janz thanked the officers involved in Acosta’s arrest for deescalating the situation and using less-than-lethal methods to stop him: “In light of everything that is going on and officers being under fire for excessive force, I’d like to recognize the officers involved for showing restraint and following protocol.”

Robert Rodriguez: (559) 441-6327, @fresnobeebob

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A Valley native, Robert has worked at The Fresno Bee since 1994, covering various topics including education, business and agriculture. He currently covers courts.