U of M student fatally stabbed behind restaurant - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

U of M student fatally stabbed behind restaurant

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SOUTHEAST MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Memphis Police are asking for your help in trying to find the person who fatally stabbed University of Memphis student Aaron Vasquez, who was killed taking out the trash at a restaurant March 23.

He was fatally stabbed early Saturday morning behind El Toro Loco restaurant near dumpster in Southeast Memphis. After suffering the stab wounds, police say the victim was able to make it back inside the restaurant and collapsed.

The murder suspect left in Mr. Vasquez's green 1998 Toyota RAV4 with Tennessee tags 779-VWD. The key piece of evidence could crack the devastating case of a familiar face and voice.

Police have a limited description of suspect - a black male who was wearing a black hoodie, gloves and was armed with a knife.

WUMR disc jockey Eric Harris says you could hear the 19-year-old's enthusiasm for jazz through this microphone. The jazz aficionados met after Mr. Vasquez volunteered to fill in host during the summer of 2012.

"It was just a love he had of jazz," Harris said. "He was so passionate about being here and being able to play this type of music."

Harris was devastated to hear about his colleague's tragic killing.

"We were at a restaurant and I saw his face picture on TV. I literally dropped," he said.

Several hours before Mr. Vasquez was killed, a man's throat was slit in an alley way behind New China Restaurant, located several doors down from El Toro Loco. As of Monday, the victim whose throat was slit is listed in critical condition at an area hospital.

Homicide detectives are investigating whether the two cases are connected. Police hope tips on the University of Memphis sophomore's stolen Toyota RAV4 Tennessee license plate numbers 779-VWD, will help generate leads.

Some who work in the area appear to be taking precautions into their hands.

An El Toro Loco restaurant manager said Mr. Vasquez was of Venezuelan descent, worked part-time and balanced school.

Harris said March 25 would have been Mr. Vasquez's first night back on air at WUMR after scaling back dj hours last fall to earn money at the restaurant.  

"If he had time to be on the radio ... he loved it," Harris said, who had talked with the victim recently of hosting a jazz show together.

Instead, Harris is planning a jazz tribute for his dear colleague.

"That justice will come swiftly and you can't replace a young man like him," Harris said. "He was truly a gift, especially to jazz. He'll be missed."

Friends of Mr. Vasquez posted on Facebook they have planned "A night to remember Aaron" at El Toro Loco on Kirby and Quince on Wednesday, March 27, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

If you can assist police or locate the Toyota RAV4, you are urged to call Crime Stopper at 901-528-CASH.

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