Man arrested in random Lake Forest stabbing, carjacking, hit-and-run that critically injured 2 women
Deputies arrested a man suspected of randomly targeting strangers in a violent crime spree in Lake Forest that left two women hospitalized on the evening of Tuesday, April 16.
Preliminary investigation suggests it began when a man had been involved in a fight near the Salvation Army store near the intersection of Mercury Road and Rockfield Boulevard, then somehow got inside a stranger’s apartment on Ridge Route Drive at about 5 p.m., said Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s department.
She said he left the apartment after getting into a confrontation with a resident, crossed Rockfield and then hopped the backyard fence of a house on Danby Drive that was occupied by a mother and her two teen daughters at the time.
The man allegedly broke into that residence by smashing a back window, and then armed himself with a knife. He then encountered the homeowner, a woman in her 40s who fled the house in an effort to draw the home invader away from her two daughters.
The suspect chased the woman down Mullin Road, Braun said. She said the man caught up to the victim when she tripped and stabbed her multiple times as she was on the ground.
A group of people in a white BMW happened to drive by and pulled over to see if they could help. Braun said the bystanders initially thought the man was trying to assist the woman with some sort of medical emergency, but as they got closer they realized he was actually stabbing her.
“The suspect turned on them, then starts chasing them,” said Braun
Those people fled in terror when the man threatened them with the knife, leaving their vehicle unattended. Braun said the suspect, described as a man in his 30s, then got into the BMW and sped away.
He allegedly swerved in and out of oncoming traffic, then traveled onto a curb and struck a female pedestrian in her 50s who was walking on the sidewalk along Muirlands Boulevard, critically injuring her, before colliding with another vehicle near the intersection of Muirlands and Aspan Street.
Following the crash, the suspect ran to a nearby mobile home lot and tried to break into another residence, Braun said. She said he was unsuccessful, so he went back out onto the street and tried to carjack multiple people. That’s when a passing bicyclist noticed the suspect and pepper-sprayed him before deputies arrived to arrest him at about 5:19 p.m., nine minutes after authorities were first notified of any disturbance.
Two people were hospitalized in critical condition in Lake Forest after a man stabbed a woman, stole a car and crashed into a pedestrian on a sidewalk. The suspect was taken into custody after a passing cyclist pepper sprayed him, authorities said.https://t.co/NLgcM6kT3N
— KTLA (@KTLA) April 17, 2019
“Multiple community members were able to help deputies stop this suspect,” said Braun. “We advise all residents to prioritize their safety, but deputies are thankful to all the people who notified authorities and attempted to help.”
The man was arrested on suspicion on multiple offenses including attempted murder, carjacking and felony hit-and-run. Braun said he was taken to a hospital for medical evaluation Tuesday evening prior to his booking.
Paramedics transported both women who were hurt Tuesday evening to a nearby hospital with critical injuries, according to Braun. However, she said both were expected to survive, and neither had previously known the suspect.
“It doesn’t appear that the suspect had any connection to any of the victims involved,” said Braun.
#OCSDPIO on scene at a multiple-scene incident in Lake Forest. Man suspected of stabbing, carjacking, felony hit and run and other crimes. Suspect is in custody and no further threat to community. More to follow. pic.twitter.com/ZfNa774dyp
— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSheriff) April 17, 2019
The name of the suspect was not immediately released.
Sheriff’s Lt. Chad Taylor, who serves as chief of police services for Lake Forest, expressed his gratitude to the residents who helped both victims, including those who put pressure on the stabbing victim’s wounds until paramedics arrived. He also thanked the cyclist who pepper sprayed the suspect and helped end the crime spree.
City News Service contributed to this story.