A man acting with “pure evil” allegedly killed four people and injured two others in a violent rampage of stabbings and armed robberies Wednesday across Orange County, California, that kept authorities scrambling over two hours to catch up, police said.
The 33-year-old suspect was not immediately identified, but was arrested about 6:25 p.m. as he emerged with a gun and knife from a 7-Eleven in Santa Ana, where a security guard was stabbed and later died from his injuries, reports the Orange County Register.
Police first jumped on the alleged suspect’s trail shortly after 4 p.m., when officers responded to a report of a break-in at an apartment complex in Garden Grove, where the man lives, reports KGO-TV. Two residents in the complex had returned home to find their apartment ransacked.
At 4:23 p.m., police logged a call reporting a robbery of cash by a man brandishing a knife at a Garden Grove bakery, according to the outlet.
Witnesses at that scene described a suspect who drove a silver Mercedes, reports KTLA.
Around 5 p.m., officers were called back to the apartment complex. The suspect allegedly stabbed two men there, one of whom was declared dead at the scene. The other died at a hospital, Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said at a news conference.
At 5:40 p.m., a robbery in progress summoned officers to a check-cashing business. No one was hurt in that incident, but the suspect moved on to allegedly rob an insurance business about 25 minutes later. A 53-year-old female employee of the insurance business suffered stab wounds but survived.
“This guy was armed with knives,” Whitney said. “She fought as best she could.”
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Another stabbing report at 6:09 p.m. brought officers to a Chevron gas station. There, police said a man pumping gas was confronted and attacked by the suspect “with multiple knives or machetes,” said Whitney.
The man was stabbed in the back and his nose was “almost severed off,” Whitney said, but the man survived.
Around 6:25 p.m. the silver Mercedes was spotted in the 7-Eleven parking lot by undercover Garden Grove officers who summoned backup from Santa Ana police. Authorities later learned that just prior, the suspect had stabbed a customer at a Subway restaurant across the street. That victim later died from his injuries.
Inside the 7-Eleven, police said the suspect stabbed and disarmed the security guard. He was carrying a knife and handgun as he exited, and dropped both weapons before he was arrested by police.
None of the victims, who were not immediately named, appeared to be linked to the suspect, who police said has a criminal past.
“These are all random acts of violence. Our suspect was not associated with any of our victims,” said Whitney.
“Robbery, hate, homicide. This is all of the above,” he said. “It’s just pure tragedy right now.”
“We know this guy was full of anger and he harmed a lot of people tonight,” he said.