LAKE FOREST (CBSLA) — A man has been arrested in a bizarre and violent crime spree that wound its way through Lake Forest Tuesday evening, left two women critically wounded and ended when the suspect was pepper-sprayed by a bicyclist.
The suspect, who was not immediately identified, has been arrested on multiple charges including attempted murder, carjacking and felony hit and run, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department reports.
Two women – one who was stabbed by the suspect and another who was struck by a car he had stolen – were hospitalized in critical condition, but are both expected to survive.
The incident began at around 5 p.m. when the suspect got into a fight near a Salvation Army store on Rockfield Boulevard and then ran into a nearby apartment complex on Ridge Route Drive.
He somehow forced his way into an apartment, where he was confronted by a man and woman inside. He then ran out, the sheriff’s department reports.
He crossed Rockfield Boulevard and then forced his way into a home on Danby Drive by smashing a back window, OCSD reports. There was a mother in her 40s and two teenage daughters in the home at the time.
After breaking in, he grabbed a kitchen knife, deputies said. In an effort to get him out of the house and away from her daughters, the mother ran out into the street, but the suspect chased her down. He caught up to her and stabbed her several times at the intersection of Danby Drive and Mullin Road, OCSD reports.
“The mom, fearing for her safety and the safety of her teenage daughters, really quickly thought that, hey, she needed to get out of there, and hopefully he would chase her, which he ended up doing,” Sheriff’s Lt. Chad Taylor told reporters Tuesday night. “So she actually fled out of the house and started running through the neighborhood and the suspect gave chase.”
“To make sure her girls are safe, I mean, that’s… mom,” neighbor Greg Christensen said.
During the stabbing, several Good Samaritans in a BMW who happened to be driving by stopped to help the woman. The suspect then chased them and carjacked their BMW.
He drove erratically into the area of Lake Forest Drive and Muirlands Boulevard, where he jumped a curb and slammed into a woman in her 50s who was walking on the sidewalk, the sheriff’s department reports.
The suspect continued driving onto Aspan Street, where he slammed into another car, then got out and ran into a nearby trailer park across from Muirlands Boulevard.
He tried to break into a home and carjack several vehicles. As he was trying to pull a mother and her daughter out of their car, a passing bicyclist pepper sprayed him.
“He attempted to pull the mother out of the car, she was seat-belted in,” Taylor said. “At the same time this is going on, a bicyclist that was passing by… and he actually took out some pepper spray, walked over, and pepper sprayed the suspect.”
That’s when deputies arrived on scene and arrested him, the sheriff’s department said. Deputies said the whole incident unfolded quickly, and they arrived within about nine minutes of when the first 911 calls started coming in.
The suspect was hospitalized before being booked into jail.
What sparked the crime spree is under investigation. Detectives will look at whether drugs or a mental illness played a role.