ANAHEIM (CBS) — An Orange County father was exiting a store when something strange caught his attention.
In a nearby parking lot “Donny” saw a man in a hooded sweatshirt standing over a homeless man, stabbing him repeatedly.
Donny recognized the 64-year-old victim — he had given John Berry money just the week before — and began urgently shouting for the man to stop.
“He was just standing over John…stabbing him, stabbing him, stabbing him,” he recalled. “I’m yelling, ‘Hey! Stop! Hey, stop!’ as loud as I can and he’s not acknowledging anything.”
“It almost looked like he was posessed,” Donny said.
The suspect took off running and Donny and another man, who only wanted to be identified as “Billy”, gave chase.
Billy said that he couldn’t keep up. Donny said that’s when he knew he was on his own. He dialed 911 as he ran.
The suspect entered a mobile home park, looked back at Donny and ran.
Donny might have lost him at that point. That’s when a park resident shouted out, “There he is! There he is!”
Seconds later, police arrived and caught 23-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo, an Iraq war veteran.
Police suspect Ocampo is responsible for a rash of vicious stabbings targeting the homeless in Orange County. Four men have been slain in the past three weeks: James McGillivray, 50, who was killed December 20; Lloyd “Jimmy” Middaugh, 42, who died December 27; Paulus “Dutch” Smit, 57, killed on December 30; and John Berry, 64, who was stabbed to death January 13.
Police said there could have been more deaths if it hadn’t been for Donny’s heroism.
“I honestly didn’t think I would do anything like this,” Donny said.
Donny’s wife knows that night could have ended much differently if the suspect had turned on Donny.
“He’s my hero,” she said.
Donny said it’s hard to feel like a hero when he watched Berry get killed in front of him.