A known gang member, who police say should have been in prison but was on the loose because of a California Law, stabbed six people on Thursday, killing four of them. Zachary Castaneda could have killed and injured more had he not been apprehended as he left a convenience store. But police say he should not have been on the streets, but he was because of California Law Assembly Bill 109, which allows criminals to be freed even after committing violent crimes. Garden Grove Police Chief Tom DaRé is begging the California legislature to repeal the law he says makes the streets very dangerous for law-abiding citizens.
Police said the violence unfolded across eight crime scenes in Garden Grove and Santa Ana, including an apartment complex, a bakery, an insurance office, a gas station and a Subway restaurant. The attacker and four of his alleged victims were described as Hispanic, the other two were described as Caucasian.
The two people who were injured in the attacks, a 44-year-old Hispanic man and a 54-year-old Hispanic woman, had undergone surgeries and were listed in stable condition.
Castaneda has a conviction for possession of meth for sale while armed with an assault rifle, police said, adding that investigators were still putting together his entire criminal history. Officials didn’t specify what crimes sent Castaneda to prison or when he was released, but the chief described the suspect as a “violent individual,” who should “never have been considered for early release” from prison.
“Based upon his prior arrest record, he is a violent individual who should have never been considered for early release based upon Assembly Bill 109.”
The bill, enacted in 2011, was designed to transfer people convicted of certain classes of less serious felonies from state prison to local county jails.
DaRé went on to say, “As a police chief I implore our policymakers to reevaluate their policies on criminal justice.”