2019 California stabbing attacks
The 2019 California stabbing attacks were a two-hour series of stabbings and robberies in Garden Grove and Santa Ana, in Orange County, California, on August 7, 2019. Four people were killed and two were wounded. The incident ended with the arrest of Zachary Castañeda, a 33-year-old Hispanic man from Garden Grove who had a previous criminal record and was described as a gang member. None of the victims were previously acquainted with him.
The perpetrator attacked people at seven locations in a two hour killing spree. The crimes began on August 7 when the suspect robbed an apartment. When the victims discovered the robbery, police were called at 4:09pm. At about the same time, the perpetrator attempted to rob a bakery in Garden Grove.
At 5:04pm, police were advised two men had been stabbed to death at the apartment complex in Garden Grove where the suspect lived. The stabbing victims were the robbery victims who had called police at 4:09pm. One died at the scene and the other was pronounced dead at a hospital. The suspect then attempted to rob a check-cashing business, an insurance agency, and a Chevron gas station. A woman at the insurance agency was stabbed multiple times, and the nose of the victim at the gas station was almost completely severed. He also stabbed a person to death in the parking lot of a Subway sandwich shop in Santa Ana.
The 33-year-old suspect, Zachary Castañeda, from Garden Grove, was taken into custody as he emerged from a 7-Eleven convenience shop in Santa Ana, southeast of Los Angeles. He dropped a knife along with a handgun that he had taken from a guard as he emerged from the 7-Eleven.. At the time of his arrest, the suspect was out of jail on bail for drug and concealed knife charges.
Lt. Carl Whitney Whitney of the Garden Grove Police Department said "Our suspect was not associated with any of our victims." He also said that the suspect and all of the victims were Hispanic. However, police later stated that two of the victims were white. Police also stated that the suspect is a known gang member and had previously been convicted of "possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute while armed with an assault weapon" and vehicular theft. On August 9, the suspect was charged with murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon to cause great bodily injury, aggravated mayhem, robbery and burglary, and pleaded not guilty. The suspect was not elegible for bail.
Garden Grove police Chief Tom DaRe blamed the fact that Castañeda had been granted an early release from prison on Assembly Bill 109. USC Professor Charis Kubrin said that police arguments regarding the suspect and the Public Safety Realignment initiative were meritless.
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The call to police came at 4:09 pm [...] By 5:04 pm, police got a call of two men stabbed
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Orange County court records also show he was free on a $20,000 bond for carrying a concealed knife, along with drug charges, at the time of the stabbing spree.
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He was not eligible for bail.
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Garden Grove police Chief Tom DaRe said Castaneda was a "violent individual" who should have kept him in prison, where he's been 14 times since June 2016. He blamed Assembly Bill 109, legislation which was brought into law in 2011 by California lawmakers to try to reduce the prison population.
- Miriam Hernandez (August 10, 2019). "Criminal record of 'violent' O.C. stabbing suspect under scrutiny after he was released from prison". ABC 7 News. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
But a scholar of AB 109's impact disputes DaRae's claims. "AB 109 did not give Zachary Castaneda early release...this would have happened without AB 109 in place," said UC Irvine criminology professor Charis Kubrin.