Kmart employee in critical condition after being stabbed by convicted felon

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The suspect had just been released from jail and has a lengthy criminal history, including multiple felony assault convictions. (KFSN)

Visalia Police are calling it a random attack.

At around 5:30 pm on Thursday, Visalia Police say Kmart employees noticed a man acting strangely inside the store.

"(He) didn't appear to be trying to pay for anything, wasn't a customer," said Visalia Police Sgt. Damon Maurice. "(He) was taking items off the shelves, opening things, and that's what drew the attention of the Kmart employees, and that's why they contacted him and escorted him outside."

Sgt. Maurice says the man, identified as 43-year-old Jeremy Kechloian, seemed to comply at first.

But near the store's exit, he stabbed a Kmart employee multiple times in the chest and neck.

The victim was taken to the hospital, and police found Kechloian behind the store and arrested him. They also found the knife he used in the stabbing.

Edward Keton was walking his dog when he came upon the crime scene.

"Now the guy's out a job, he's hurt," Keton said. "Other employees are going to look at it, and say 'I don't want to do that, how about if that happened to me?' So I mean it's a lot of consequences."

The store closed for the rest of the evening.

When police took the suspect back to police headquarters, they say he also assaulted an officer but was eventually detained.

According to the Tulare County Jail, Kechloian had just been released from their custody on Tuesday. It's unclear what he was charged with then.

But Action News has learned that Kechloian has a lengthy criminal history in Tulare County, including multiple felony assault convictions.

The victim is still in critical condition.
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