Knife attack over nachos at Las Vegas eatery still haunts family

Updated June 21, 2018 - 5:38 pm

It’s been a year since Marcos Mendiola was stabbed 14 times over an order of nachos at a Roberto’s Taco Shop, but his family says the nightmare persists.

“It’s been hard for all of us to see him go through all this,” said Mendiola’s sister, Christina Harold-Gomez.

Mendiola, a father of six, was working as a cook at a Roberto’s at Rainbow Boulevard and Vegas Drive last June when two men and a woman walked into the store and asked for chicken and carne asada on their nacho order. When a cashier told the group that company policy only allowed one meat, the group got angry and started a fight with employees.

Mendiola got involved when the enraged customers forced their way into the kitchen. Police said one of the men punched Mendiola while the other stabbed him from behind.

Mendiola was stabbed repeatedly, and two of his co-workers were slashed with a knife. Mendiola was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and still has trouble talking about the attack, his sister said. He declined to speak to the Review-Journal for this story.

The stabbing suspect, Elbrixsth Arroyo, is still at large. Las Vegas police issued a warrant for his arrest in September, according to court records. He faces three battery charges.

Blanca Escoco, corporate operating manager for Roberto’s, said the company has a close relationship with the Metropolitan Police Department and has been working with police to try and catch Mendiola’s attacker.

She also said the company gives franchise owners guidelines for training employees on how to act during robberies and confrontations with customers.

“Mostly it’s on how to de-escalate situations before they turn violent,” Escoco said. “But that’s not always possible.”

She said Roberto’s is often targeted for late-night robberies because stores are open 24 hours, and employees are trained to put their safety first and not fight back.

“But sometimes they do, and we discourage that,” she said. “In that situation it’s just their adrenaline kicking in.”

Mendiola, 40, recently returned to work, but his family won’t say where, out of fear of retaliation from the man who stabbed him.

The other man and woman in the attack are not facing charges.

Workers’ compensation covered Mendiola’s hospital and therapy bills, but the family can’t relax until the suspect is found, Harold-Gomez said.

“It’s been so hard for us because we know they’re still here living their lives like nothing happened, while my brother is here full of marks all over his body,” she said.

Mendiola’s family said the last update they got from police was in April, when a detective told Harold-Gomez it was “a waiting game.” She said police haven’t let the family watch surveillance footage of the attack.

“The main thing we want is for Metro to do their job and make an arrest,” Harold-Gomez said. “But to this day, no luck.”

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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