Jessica Luevano was sitting on the patio of her Long Beach apartment complex Friday, enjoying the late-summer night with her 4-year-old son and about 20 neighbors when she first heard the screams.
They came from her neighbor as he ran into the complex asking for a bat.
There was a man coming their way, he said.
“He has a knife,” Luevano, 26, recalled her neighbor yelling. “He is stabbing people.”
Long Beach police said the man, identified as 28-year-old Derrick Lee Hunt, had already stabbed his wife, her brother and a 24-year-old male neighbor at the nearby Artesia Courts apartment complex on Artesia Boulevard.
Now the man was fast approaching Luevano’s complex, a large kitchen knife still in one hand.
The neighbors grabbed what they could--shovels and brooms -- and ran to close their open gate as Hunt approached. One neighbor kicked the metal gate shut in Hunt’s face as he waved the knife at them through the metal bars.
Hunt then made his way to a convalescent home across the street, where he stabbed three female employees.A short time later, officers confronted the suspect and shot him, police said. Hunt was pronounced dead at the scene where officers recovered a bloodstained knife with a 7-inch blade.
Luevano and another resident who lives on the block witnessed the shooting. They said Hunt appeared to raise his hands up at the officers as if he was holding a gun and pointed the knife at police.
He did not obey officers’ command to put down the weapon and was shot multiple times, they said.
Five of the six stabbing victims were taken to local hospitals, police said. All are in stable condition.
Luevano and other residents were still shaken Saturday morning as cleaning crews arrived to scrub blood off the sidewalks.
“To stand there and see somebody out of their mind – who could have easily walked up in here while I am standing here with my 4-year-old son and stabbed me and my child.... I still have chills,” she said.
The incident began when officers responded to a report of a stabbing at the Artesia Courts complex about 8:20 p.m., police said. One neighbor heard a woman screaming “help me!” and came outside to find three people bleeding on the sidewalk.
Neighbors called 911 and used towels to make tourniquets on the victims as they waited for paramedics to arrive, said Patrice, who lives in the complex and did not want to provide her last name.
“He was on a rampage, “ she said.
The courtyard of the apartment building was still covered in bloody footprints Saturday morning. A trail of blood ran out the back of the complex, down an alley and around the block back onto Artesia Boulevard.
Long Beach police thanked the many residents who quickly pointed officers in the direction of Hunt when they arrived.
“People were in fear, obviously, of what this guy was doing,” Sgt. Megan Zabel said. “ I can’t even imagine what those poor people were going through.”
Police are still trying to determine what sparked the rampage.
Hunt’s sister, Shawntris Leake, told ABC 7 that Hunt did not have a history of mental illness. Leake said she was upset the police resorted to shooting her brother rather than trying to subdue him by some other means.