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Orange County stabbing attacks that killed 4 began as robberies, police say

A man went on a two-hour crime rampage in Orange County on Wednesday, fatally stabbing four people and wounding two others in Garden Grove and Santa Ana, police said.

The crimes apparently started as robberies and evolved into a series of stabbings at multiple locations, according to police, who on Wednesday evening were trying to get the man to explain what had unfolded.

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Police monitor the scene outside a Subway along First Street at Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana, where one of several stabbings took place.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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Garden Grove Police Lt. Carl Whitney said the motive appeared to be robbery, as well as anger and hate. Police said there was no indication that the attacks were racially motivated.

“These were random acts of violence — our suspect was not involved with any of the victims,” Whitney said at a news conference.

The violence came just days after a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, leaving a manifesto vowing to kill “as many Mexicans as possible.” On Sunday, another gunman killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio. The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism case in the El Paso shooting as well as one in Gilroy, Calif., on July 28 that left three people dead.

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The suspect in the Orange County stabbings was not identified. Officers arrested him at a 7-Eleven in Santa Ana after spotting his silver Mercedes, authorities said.

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A 7-Eleven store along First Street at Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana, where a security guard was fatally stabbed.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

When the man came out of the convenience store, he had a handgun that he had taken from the store’s security guard and a knife, police said. He placed them both on the ground before he was arrested.

The mayhem began early Wednesday evening when authorities say the man stabbed and killed two men at the apartment complex where the suspect also lived in the 12100 block of Jentges Avenue in Garden Grove.

Next, he robbed a nearby check-cashing business but didn’t harm anyone there, according to police. He then tried to rob the Best One Insurance Agency at 12843 Harbor Blvd. in Garden Grove about 6:05 p.m. Inside, he attacked a 54-year-old employee, confronting her with a machete-style knife, Whitney said.

“This female employee was very brave; this guy was armed with knives,” Whitney said. “She fought as best as she could against this armed suspect and sustained multiple stab wounds.”

The woman was taken to a hospital; she is expected to survive.

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One of the stabbings happened at an Arco station in Garden Grove.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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Next, about 6:10 p.m., the man pulled up to a gas station at Harbor Boulevard and Banner Drive in Garden Grove and attacked a man pumping gas, stabbing him in the back and almost cutting off the man’s nose, police said. The victim was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

The suspect drove south on Harbor Boulevard, stopping at a Subway sandwich shop in Santa Ana, where he killed a man, authorities said.

Then he went across the street and attacked a security guard at the 7-Eleven, stabbing and killing him. The man took the security guard’s gun and walked outside, where he was arrested.

“I’ve been a police officer for 30 years, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a suspect kill four people and stab others,” Whitney said. “It’s pure evil.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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