Suspect in deadly stabbing spree facing 51 charges, including murder

The suspect in the deadly Southern California stabbing and robbery spree was charged on Friday with 51 criminal counts, including four felony counts of murder.

Zachary Castaneda, 33, is also facing one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon to cause great bodily injury, one felony count of aggravated mayhem, one felony count of first degree residential burglary, and three felony counts of second degree robbery, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The other 40 charges include murder during a robbery and committing a crime after he was released from prison on a separate offense. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Castaneda is accused of killing four people and wounding two others in a string of attacks Wednesday that sprawled across two cities.

He was scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. local time. He is currently being held at the Orange County jail on $1.1 million bail.

The district attorney’s office noted his charges make him ineligible for bail.

It was not immediately clear if he had legal representation before his court appearance.

Police released video of one of the attacks late Thursday to show “the speed and viciousness” of the suspect’s actions.

In the footage, the suspect can be seen walking into an insurance company and approaching a woman sitting down. He then all of a sudden pulls out two knives and begins wielding them before stabbing her. The woman in the video is expected to survive the attack, police said.


The violent spree began at 4:09 p.m. in Garden Grove and ended at 6:25 p.m. in Santa Ana, authorities said.

During that time, Castaneda allegedly stabbed two people to death in his apartment complex, an armed security guard at a 7-Eleven, and a person outside a Subway, according to Garden Grove Police Lt. Carl Whitney.

He is also accused of repeatedly stabbing a woman at a Garden Grove insurance business, which is what the surveillance footage shows.

Three minutes after that attack, Castaneda allegedly stabbed a 44-year-old man at a Chevron Gas Station, nearly severing off his nose, police said. That man is expected to survive, according to authorities.

A booking mug shot of Zachary Castaneda posted outside of the Garden Grove Police Department headquarters in Garden Grove, Calif., Aug. 8, 2019.

All of the victims ranged in age from 25 to 64, officials said.

Castaneda allegedly robbed several business in Garden Grove and Santa Ana amid the attacks, police said.

Undercover Garden Grove police officers found his vehicle at the 7-Eleven — and when Castaneda exited store allegedly armed with a handgun and knife — he complied with an officer’s order to drop his weapons, police said.

He was then taken into custody.

Castaneda got the handgun after taking it from the armed security guard, authorities said.

Police said investigators were still looking into Castaneda’s motive. They said he “remained violent” throughout the night.

Whitney, meanwhile, called the attacks “tragic.”

“We don’t want to see tragedies like this happen,” he said. “We’ve seen tragedies like this happen across the United States, but what the good point we can see out of this is that our officers responded quickly, rapidly and were able to take this guy into custody as fast as we could.”

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