Friends of disabled stabbing victim believe he was the victim of a hate crime

VIDEO: Friends of disabled stabbing victim believe he was the victim of a hate crime

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Friends of the man who was stabbed to death outside a Fred Meyer store said they believed he was the victim of a hate crime.

Loved ones said Greg McKnight was not only disabled but also a member of the LGBTQ community.

As a result, they believe he was an easy target.

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“For the last week, he keeps popping into my mind,” said Lavelle Brown, a longtime friend and colleague of McKnight. " I say, ‘Wait a second. He can’t be gone yet. He just can’t be gone.’”

More than a week after McKnight was stabbed to death, Brown said she’s still shocked she’ll never hear his boisterous laugh again.

“He was the life of the party, even when you didn’t want him to be. He’d come out with something,” she reminisced, adding that McKnight’s loud, larger-than-life personality could’ve escalated tensions in the moments before the stabbing.

On Jan. 24, McKnight used a motorized scooter to shop at the Lynnwood Fred Meyer store.

According to court records, when he got to his car, which was parked in a handicapped spot in front of the store, he saw a silver Nissan Sentra parked on the yellow, horizontal lines blocking the space to the left of his car.

Police said he was prevented from getting into the driver’s side door, and a confrontation then ensued.

Friends told KIRO 7 they have no doubt that McKnight would’ve spoken up and defended himself.

“He spoke his mind, which rubbed people the wrong way sometimes, but the next day it would be over, and you could be laughing again,” Brown said.

Tragically, that’s not what happened this time.

Following a confrontation, police said one of the people in the nearby car stabbed McKnight three times in the legs.

The suspect then took off, leaving McKnight to bleed out in the middle of the Fred Meyer parking lot.

Friends said they’re convinced he was an easy target because of both his disability and his sexuality.

“He was out there, so there was no hiding anything on what he felt and what he was,” Brown said.

Lynnwood police tracked down the stabbing suspect in Oakland, California.

Plans are now underway to get her back to the Northwest to face murder charges, as well as a possible hate crime.

“It won’t make it better, but it’ll help ease the pain,” Brown said, following the news that there had been an arrest in McKnight’s murder.

Lynnwood police identified the suspect as 26-year-old Shayla Baylor.

According to arrest records, Baylor has been in trouble with the law numerous times, including for crimes such as drug possession and domestic battery.