‘Pure hate’ drove killer who ‘went on a stabbing spree in California that left four dead and two injured,’ police said
Zachary Castaneda, 33, a gang member with a violent criminal record, was arrested on Wednesday by police in Santa Ana
He allegedly went on a stabbing and robbery spree that left four people dead and two others wounded
Police released video of violent knife assault allegedly committed by Castaneda inside an insurance agency in Garden Grove
He was booked into Orange County jail on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and burglary, according to police
Police said Castaneda went on a two-hour ‘random’ crime spree in California and Santa Ana on Wednesday, killing four people and injuring two others
He ‘could have killed many other people’ had not been arrested, police said
Three of the four fatalities have been identified as Pascual Rioja Lorenzo, 39, Robert Parker, 58, and Helmuth Hauprich, 62
Police said that ‘pure hate’ drove a man ‘full of anger’ to launch a deadly stabbing and robbery spree in Southern California which left four people dead and two others wounded.
Authorities have reacted to Wednesday’s arrest of 33-year-old Castaneda – a reputed gang member with a violent past. ‘It’s just pure hate that this guy did this,’ Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said.
‘We know that this guy was full of anger and he harmed a lot of people tonight.’
Three of the four fatalities have been identified – Pascual Rioja Lorenzo, 39, of Garden Grove; Robert Parker, 58, of Orange County; and Helmuth Hauprich, 62, of Garden Grove.
A man identified by police as as Castaneda was seen on horrific surveillance footage violently stabbing a woman at an insurance agency during a gruesome crime spree.
The video’s time stamp shows that at around 6pm on Wednesday, a man in a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and blue t-shirt underneath walked into the Best One insurance agency in Garden Grove, California.
The man initially appears to be carrying a small over-the-shoulder knapsack.
He then approaches the front desk, where a woman is sitting near a computer.
After a few seconds of talking, the man then unzips his knapsack and removes two large knives.
He grips a knife in each hand, walks around the woman’s desk, and approaches her as she is sitting down.
The woman raises both of her hands in the air as if to defend herself while the knife-wielding man moves to within a foot or two of her.
The man, who is standing over the seated woman, then begins to make swift stabbing motions toward her while she desperately tries to defend herself.
Within a matter of seconds, the man makes a dozen stabbing attempts. Somehow, the woman managed to get up from her desk.
On the video, it doesn’t appear that she suffered any noticeable injuries, though in reality she had been stabbed multiple times.
She moved to the back of the office and took cover behind chairs and desk while the knife-wielding man moved toward her.
As the woman cowers in the corner, the man begins to backtrack. He then moves toward what appears to be a cashier window and grabs wads of cash before bolting out the door.
Stabbing victim is treated by EMTs
The stabbing attack survivor is transported to hospital
Police said the woman in the video is a 54-year-old employee who was stabbed several times and was expected to survive.
The woman ‘was very brave,’ police said. ‘She fought as best she could.’
An alarm company saw the robbery on a live television feed and called police.
The man fled with cash and also robbed a check-cashing business next door, authorities said.
The footage was released on Facebook by the Garden Grove Police Department.
Authorities say the man in the video is Zachary Castaneda, a gang member with a violent criminal record who has been to prison 14 times since June 2016.
Castaneda allegedly robbed the insurance agency and stabbed the woman as part of a frantic, bloody two-hour crime spree that left four people dead and two others wounded.
Castaneda ‘could have injured or killed many other people’ had he not been arrested Wednesday while carrying out attacks and robberies during the two-hour wave of violence that began in Garden Grove, the city’s police Chief Tom DaRe said.
It wasn’t immediately known if Castaneda, 33, had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday.
Castaneda was taken into custody when he walked out of a convenience store in the neighboring city of Santa Ana, dropping a knife and a gun he had taken from a security guard he had just killed, police said. The suspect was covered in blood, DaRe said.
‘He remained violent with us through the night,’ DaRe said. ‘He never told us why he did this.’
Castaneda has a conviction for possession of meth for sale while armed with an assault rifle, DaRe said.
Investigators were still putting together his entire criminal history, he said.
Police said court records indicated that Castaneda had been to prison 14 times since June 2016.
He is said to have a criminal record dating back to 2004, according to authorities.
Officials didn’t specify what crimes sent Castaneda to prison or when he was released.
The violence appeared to be random and the only known motive seem to be ‘robbery, hate, homicide,’ Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney told reporters.
Whitney said police had previously gone to Castaneda’s Garden Grove apartment to deal with a child custody issue.
The suspect’s mother had been living with him and had once asked police how she could evict her son, he said.
The attacker and four of the victims were described as Hispanic, while two victims were described as white, police said in a statement. There was no indication this was a hate crime, police said.
The two people who were wounded were expected to survive.
Castaneda was arrested outside a 7-Eleven store [photo], in Santa Ana after he came out and dropped a knife and a gun that he had taken from a security guard before fatally stabbing him
One of the dead was identified by his son as a hard-working immigrant originally from Romania.
Erwin Hauprich said the last time he heard from his dad was a phone call that his father, Helmuth Hauprich, on Wednesday afternoon to inform him that his Garden Grove apartment had been burglarized.
The father said his passport, green card, sword collection and even a dining table were taken.
Erwin Hauprich said his father never called back and he went to check on him after hearing there had been a stabbing at the complex.
A police officer told him that Helmuth Hauprich had been taken to the hospital, where he died, the son said.
He said he was told his father’s roommate was killed in the apartment.
A GoFundMe account has been launched to help the family bear the costs of a funeral.
Victims: Helmuth Hauprich [left], and Pascual Rioja Lorenzo [right], of Garden Grove were killed by Castaneda during his 2-hour rampage on Wednesday
‘We have video showing him attacking these people and conducting these murders,’ Whitney said.
Whitney said the killer lived in a Garden Grove apartment building where he stabbed two men during some kind of confrontation. One man died inside and the other at a hospital.
He said that the crime spree began when Castaneda robbed a home on the 12100 block of Jentges Avenue in Garden Grove just after 4pm on Wednesday, KCBS-TV reported.Some 20 minutes later, Whitney said the M Bakery also was robbed.
Bakery owner, Dona Beltran, said she was sitting in her car charging her cellphone when she saw a tattooed man get out of a Mercedes and go inside the business.
Beltran followed him inside to offer help, but kept quiet when she saw him trying to open the cash register.
She then ran out of the shop and yelled she was being robbed before taking refuge in a nearby dental office, she said.
He ended up taking the entire register with him, which had about $200, she said.‘I saved myself because I was in the car,’ she said in Spanish on Thursday.
‘Thank God I am alive.’
After robbing the bakery, police said that Castaneda returned to the residence that he initially burglarized. It was there that he found two men outside an adjacent apartment.
At around this time, police received a report of two male roommates stabbed outside their apartment on Jentges Avenue.
Officers found one man down on the ground outside of the apartment and another victim inside the residence.
The suspect is then alleged to have robbed the insurance business where a 54-year-old employee was stabbed several times and was expected to survive
Afterward, Castaneda allegedly drove up to a Chevron station, where he attacked a 44-year-old man pumping gas ‘for no reason,’ Whitney said.
The man was stabbed in the back and ‘his nose was nearly severed off his face,’ the lieutenant said.
Undercover detectives tracked the suspect’s silver Mercedes to the parking lot of the 7-Eleven in Santa Ana and within a minute the man emerged from the store, carrying a large knife and a gun that he had cut from the belt of a security guard after stabbing him, Whitney said.
Police ordered him to drop his weapons and he complied and was arrested.
Police then learned that a male employee of a nearby Subway restaurant also had been fatally stabbed during a robbery, Whitney said.
Authorities said that Castaneda had been released from state prison after the California State Legislature passed AB 109.
On July 22, two weeks before Wednesday’s alleged Crime spree, Castaneda pled guilty to a felony count of carrying a knife in addition to misdemeanor counts of drug possession.
He also pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license.
AB 109, signed into law in 2011, with the purpose of the legislation was to reduce the state’s prison population by either sending certain inmates convicted of less serious felonies to county jails or putting them under the supervision of county probation officers.
‘Based upon his prior arrest record, he is a violent individual who should have never been considered for early release based on Assembly Bill 109,’ Chief DaRe said.
‘As a police chief, I implore our policy makers to reconsider their policies on criminal justice.
‘The pendulum has swung so far that it is increasingly difficult to keep our communities safe from the rise in violent crime.
‘California law enforcement agencies have been crippled by Assembly Bill 109 and offenders are not being held accountable for their crimes.’
The brutal and puzzling attack came just days after a pair of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left 31 people dead and stunned the nation.