Stabbing Deaths

This photo shows a booking mug shot of Zachary Castaneda posted outside of the Garden Grove Police Department headquarters in Garden Grove, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. Investigators believe Castaneda, a documented gang member, stabbed several people to death and wounded a few others as he targeted his victims at random during a bloody rampage across two Southern California cities, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

GARDEN GROVE — The suspect in a Southern California stabbing rampage that left four people dead and two injured pleaded not guilty Friday to murder, attempted murder and other counts.

Zachary Castaneda was arraigned in his jail cell instead of court after refusing to leave his jail cell, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a tweet.

Castaneda was arrested Wednesday by police responding to two hours of slashing and stabbing attacks in Garden Grove and Santa Ana.

Authorities said the 33-year-old Castaneda was covered in blood when he was taken into custody after walking out of a 7-Eleven store and dropping a knife and a gun that he’d cut from the belt of a security guard he’d just killed.

The 11 felonies filed against Castaneda also included assault with a deadly weapon to cause great bodily injury, aggravated mayhem, robbery and burglary.

Castaneda had been kept in restraints when detectives tried to interview him.

“He remained violent with us through the night,” Garden Grove Police Chief Tom DaRe said. “He never told us why he did this.”

Authorities on Friday said 63-year-old Gerardo Fresnares Beltran was fatally stabbed in his Garden Grove apartment. His roommate Helmuth Hauprich, 62, was also killed in the attack.  Castaneda was their neighbor.

Robert Parker, 58, of Orange, and Pascual Rioja Lorenzo, 39, of Garden Grove were stabbed separately in Santa Ana.

Rioja Lorenzo was a construction worker and devout churchgoer from Mexico.

He had lived in the U.S. for more than a decade but his wife and 16-year-old son remain in Mexico, said Saul Abrego, an official with the United Pentecostal Church La Senda Antigua in Santa Ana.

Rioja Lorenzo held home Bible study events for the church, and Abrego said he believes he had just come from work and was heading to one such event when he was attacked.

“It was just a big shock for us,” Abrego said.

Court records show that Castaneda was a gang member with a criminal history of assault and weapon and drug crimes.

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