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Tacos La Guera Receives Massive Show Of Support After Thursday's Attack By Competing Street Vendor

WHITTIER (CBSLA) - A turf war between two taco vendors in Whittier has gone viral, and now one of the vendors is facing serious charges.

Taco Turf War 2
Tomas, seen here, moves away from the smoke created by the fire extinguisher spray on Friday Jan. 28, 2022.

Police in Norwalk said a man has been charged with felony vandalism for trying to destroy a competing vendors setup Thursday evening, first throwing water on their food and then spraying their cooking fires with a fire extinguisher. The confrontation was captured on camera.

Some locals said the angry food vendor might have been trying to put other vendors out of business, but it's had the exact opposite effect.

"Why can't we all just get along and get some money for the family Tacos La Guera La, yeah, yeah," sang Rocky Padilla, a Whittier resident.

On Saturday night, it was dinner and a show as hundreds of people came out to let street vendors know they are welcome here, after the frightening confrontation that occurred on Thursday night.

Tomas, one of the street vendors who was working Thursday night said he's a little afraid because the man threatened to kill them, for not leaving the spot that he claimed was normally his.

Saturday, though, the spot clearly belonged to Tacos La Guera, as crowds lined the parking lot.

Taco Turf War 1
Jan. 29, 2022 (CBSLA)

"We all are disgusted by what happened. So, we just came to represent, tell them we got your back," Padilla said.

"Look it, look it...he actually did them a favor. So many people are here showing support," another Whittier resident, Monique Valenzuela, said.

Street vendors are in competition all over the Los Angeles area and attacks on them are not unusual, but when it's infighting between rivals, some said that's especially hurtful.

"For another food vendor to do something like that, it's absurd and it's disrespectful," said Whittier resident Bryant Sciono. "I had to come support because even though we're getting our first restaurant, I can't forget where we came from."

Food blogger Rosio Borunda said that there's plenty of customers waiting to get food from street vendors.

"They have plenty of other people to go to their food, you know. There's plenty of fish in the sea," she said.

Police said they arrested the suspect at about 11 p.m. last night and charged him with felony vandalism.

Another local food vendor has setup a GoFundMe to help the three workers who were here at the scene on the night of the attack. One of those workers is still too afraid to return to work.

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