CALIFORNIA — A man killed four people during a stabbing rampage in Southern California before officers found his car parked outside a 7-Eleven convenience store and arrested him, authorities said.
In addition to the people killed, the attacker left two wounded in multiple crime scenes in Garden Grove and Santa Ana, police said.
The victims killed included two people at the suspect’s apartment complex, a 7-Eleven security guard and one more person at a Subway restaurant.
The suspect was armed with “two very large machete-type knives,” Lt. Carl Whitney of the Garden Grove Police Department told CNN, “and he was very brutal when he attacked his victims.”
Authorities have not identified the suspect.
Apartment stabbings: 2 killed
The mayhem started Wednesday when police received a burglary call shortly after 4 p.m. local time, Whitney said. Two people said they’d come home and found their apartment burglarized.
As officers prepared to respond to the apartment burglary, another call came in about 20 minutes later about a robbery at a bakery in Garden Grove in which an unknown amount of cash was taken.
The same suspect broke into the apartment and then drove his silver Mercedes to the bakery, police said. From the bakery, he returned to the apartment, got into an altercation and fatally stabbed two people, Whitney said.
The suspect lived in the same apartment complex and it’s unclear whether he knew the victims. At the time, officers did not know that the apartment and bakery incidents were connected.
Gas station and business: 2 wounded
Just after 6 p.m., officers got a robbery siren alarm at an insurance business in Garden Grove. The suspect had stabbed a woman at the business, stolen money and taken off, police said. “This female employee was very brave. This guy was armed with knives — she fought as best as she could,” Whitney said.
By then, officers had talked to several witnesses and realized it was the same suspect involved in the previous incidents. They sent out an alert on his car as undercover detectives searched parking lots and nearby streets.
Shortly after, police got another call of a man stabbed in the back while pumping gas and his nose nearly slashed off by the same suspect.
“Again, multiple scenes going on at the same time,” Whitney said. “I’ve worked here for 30 years. This is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this where we have a suspect kill four people in one day and attack other people that are just innocent victims. It’s pure evil.”
The woman and the man were hospitalized with serious injuries and are expected to survive, police said.
Attacks at stores: 2 more killed
Witnesses told officers the Mercedes was last seen headed toward Santa Ana and investigators sent undercover detectives in that direction.
They saw the car parked at a 7-Eleven and police surrounded the convenience store. The suspect came out carrying a knife and a handgun, and police confronted him and arrested him, authorities said. Investigators discovered he’d stabbed the security guard to death and cut out his gun from his belt, Whitney said.
While clearing the scene, they were told the suspect had also killed one person during a robbery at a Subway restaurant before he went to the 7-Eleven — both in Santa Ana, police said. Law enforcement agencies from both agencies worked on the crime scenes.
There are no known connections between the suspect and the victims, and the motive appears to be robbery, Whitney said.
“These crimes have nothing to do with hate or race,” he said. “The suspect is Hispanic and so are most of the victims.”
“He just went in search of cash, suspects to rob,” Whitney said.
Santa Ana and Garden Grove are both in Orange County about 35 miles from Los Angeles.