A man was arrested Tuesday night in Lake Forest with the assistance of a civilian after a 10-minute crime spree that included a stabbing, carjacking and felony hit and run, leaving two women in critical condition.
The rampage began when the man got into a fight near the Salvation Army on Rockfield Boulevard about 5 p.m. Witnesses said the man was choking a woman who was donating items.
"I heard screaming, saw him bolt," said customer Victor Mosqueda. "That's when I followed him.
"He took his pen out and tried to stab me three times. I choked him and threw him to the ground."
The man then broke into an apartment. He was confronted by a man and woman inside and ran out of the unit, according to Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
The suspect then ran across Rockfield Boulevard and broke into a home on Danby Drive occupied by a woman in her 40s and two teenagers. He grabbed a knife and the woman ran from the home in an attempt to draw the suspect away from the children, police said.
The woman fell and was stabbed multiple times by the suspect, Braun said.
Three people in a white BMW then pulled up and, believing the suspect was assisting the injured woman, stopped to help. The knife-wielding suspect chased them away and carjacked their vehicle, Braun said.
The woman was taken to a hospital in critical condition, but her wounds were not considered life-threatening.
The suspect fled the area, driving onto Lake Forest Drive and Muirlands Boulevard. He drove into oncoming traffic and onto the sidewalk, where he struck a woman in her 50s.
She was hospitalized in critical condition, but was expected to survive, Braun said.
The suspect continued on to Aspan Street, where he collided with another vehicle, disabling the BMW, she said. He then ran into a trailer park across Muirlands Boulevard and attempted to break into a residence, but was unsuccessful.
He then attempted to carjack several vehicles on Muirlands Boulevard when a passing bicyclist pepper sprayed the suspect just as deputies arrived at the scene and arrested the man, Braun said.
It was a total of nine minutes from the time deputies received the first call to the time the suspect was taken into custody, Braun said.
The suspect was taken to a hospital prior to being booked into Orange County jail on suspicion of attempted murder, carjacking, felony hit-and-run and possible additional offenses, she said.
OCSD 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.
The age and name of the suspect was not immediately released.