GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA) — The family of one of four people killed Wednesday during a stabbing rampage in Garden Grove and Anaheim is speaking out tonight.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Stacey Butler spoke to the family of Helmuth Hauprich and the grief was palpable.
“He doesn’t deserve to die this way. And I’m so sorry. I was not there for him. I cannot believe he’s gone,” says Dorina Hauprich.
She and her then-husband left their native Romania with their two children almost four decades ago. They amiably separated. They never dreamed his story would end like this.
“This is just so heartbreaking, get robbed, wait for the police then somebody come and stab you,” says the couple’s daughter Antonela.
The 62-year-old Helmuth and his roommate were the first to be fatally stabbed when police say their next-door-neighbor, Zachary Castaneda, burglarized their apartment Tuesday afternoon and they apparently caught him not long after he left.
“It was 4:44 (p.m.) and he called me and said I just got home from work, my place got robbed. These people really took their sweet time. My dining room table is missing, my dining room chairs. Every wall piece was taken,” says son Erwin Hauprich.
He says his dad told him he had an uneasy feeling about the new neighbor.
“I saw that guy coming in and out of his house. He was just one of those guys that you know is not a good guy. He was always walking around with his shirt off, tattoos everywhere. My dad told me, too, he was worried about this guy,” Erwin says.
A few minutes after her father reported the burglary, Hauprich’s daughter called back to make sure the police arrived. She didn’t know it at the time, but before officers showed up, the suspect apparently returned to her dad’s place and killed him.
“The officer said the call was pending and the robber had a chance to come back,” she says, “If the police were there on time, or at least five minutes earlier, 20 minutes earlier, this guy that started all of this stabbing, could have been caught from the beginning.”
Antonela believes if police had responded sooner, the additional murders and stabbings could have been prevented.
Now she says her family is haunted by images of Castaneda’s arrest. The suspect is shown wearing their dad’s favorite sweatshirt.
“Just to see that, that person wearing my father’s sweatshirt. Did he take that sweatshirt from him before he stabbed him or after he stabbed him?” Antonela asks.
The family told Butler they are pleading for an end to the assembly bill that allowed Castaneda to avoid a long prison sentence.
“AB109 needs to be changed,” says Antonela “that does not make sense. He should have served his time. He should have finished his sentence. He shouldn’t be out.”
Antonela set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. For more information, click here.