4 dead, 2 wounded in Southern California stabbings
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who was “full of anger” went on a two-hour stabbing and robbery rampage in Southern California, killing four people and wounding two others, authorities said Wednesday.
The 33-year-old Garden Grove man was taken into custody after he came out of a 7-Eleven in Santa Ana, southeast of Los Angeles, and dropped a knife along with a handgun that he had taken from a guard, police said.
The violence appeared to be random and the only known motives seem to be “robbery, hate, homicide,” Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said at a news conference.
“We know this guy was full of anger and he harmed a lot of people tonight,” he said.
The suspect and all the victims were Hispanic, he added.
The attacks on more than a half-dozen places took place over about two hours in Garden Grove and neighboring Santa Ana.
The two people who were injured were listed in stable condition late Wednesday night and were expected to survive, Whitney said.
Detectives were interviewing the man and also expected to be at the various crime scenes through the night in order to collect evidence for a court case, Whitney said. Surveillance cameras caught some of the carnage.
“We have video showing him attacking these people and conducting these murders,” he said.
Whitney said the man lived in a Garden Grove apartment building where he stabbed two men during some kind of confrontation. One man died inside an apartment and another was found wounded on the balcony and died at a hospital.
Whitney said a bakery also was robbed.
The owner, who asked not to be identified, told KCAL-TV that she was charging her cellphone at about 4 p.m. when the man drove up and apparently mistook her for a customer.
“He went directly to the register and tried to open the register ... he showed me a gun,” she said. He took all the money and fled.
“I think I was very lucky because he thought I was a customer, not the owner,” she said.
The man also robbed an insurance business, where a 54-year-old employee was stabbed several times and was expected to survive.
He was armed with “some sort of machete knives” when he confronted the woman, Whitney said.
The woman “was very brave,” Whitney said. “She fought as best she could.”
An alarm company saw the robbery on a live television feed and called police.
“They could see that the female victim was on the ground with blood and multiple injuries,” Whitney said.
The man fled with cash and also robbed a check-cashing business next door, the lieutenant said.
Shortly after 6 p.m., the attacker drove up to a Chevron station, where he attacked a man pumping gas “for no reason,” Whitney said. “There was no robbery.”
The man was stabbed in the back and “his nose was nearly severed off his face,” the lieutenant said. Bystanders rushed to help the man, he said.
Undercover detectives tracked the suspect’s silver Mercedes to the parking lot of the 7-Eleven store in Santa Ana and within a minute of their arrival the man came out of the store, carrying a large knife and a gun that he had cut from the belt of a security guard after stabbing him, Whitney said.
The man had followed the guard into the store and stabbed him several times during a confrontation, Whitney said.
Police ordered the man to drop his weapons and he complied and was arrested.
Police then learned that a male employee of a nearby Subway restaurant also had been fatally stabbed during a robbery, Whitney said.
The brutal and puzzling attack came just days after a pair of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left 31 people dead and stunned the nation. The shooter in El Paso, Texas, apparently posted an anti-immigrant screed before killing 22 people at a Walmart on Saturday. Less than a day later, a man opened fire on a Dayton, Ohio, entertainment district, killing nine people before police shot him dead.