Police say they shot a 31-year-old homeless man in Belmont Shore on Tuesday after he’d attacked four people and then tried to get into a residential property near Second Street.
Everyone wounded during the spree, including the 31-year-old suspect, is expected to survive, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
Police said the string of crimes began just a few minutes before noon when the suspected attacker physically assaulted a man and a woman at Park Avenue and Livingston Drive. The suspect did not stab these two victims, police said, and they were treated for minor injuries at the scene.
The attacker then walked into nearby Livingston Park, where he assaulted a man holding a 2-year-old child, police said. The child fell to the ground, suffering minor injuries, police said. The man also fell, and the attacker began stabbing him multiple times in the lower body, according to the LBPD.
Neighbor Ray Vannatta, a longtime resident of Belmont Shore, said he was shocked by the violence in the park. He tried to intervene after seeing what he thought was a fight and saw the attacker with what appeared to be a knife.
As everyone in the park fled screaming, Vannatta yelled at the attacker in an attempt to draw his attention and distract him from assaulting anyone else.
Vannatta then led the stabbing suspect out of the park before fleeing back into his home and locking the doors.
The attacker then headed toward Second Street, a crowded shopping and entertainment district, when he stabbed another victim, who had to be hospitalized, police said.
When officers arrived, they tried to calm down the attacker, the LBPD said, but he “began walking away from them.”
“Officers continued to talk with the suspect in an attempt to get him to drop the weapon, however, he then attempted to enter a residential property,” at which point at least one officer shot him, police said.
Police have not publicly provided the name of the suspect, who is being treated at a local hospital.
In a press conference after the incident, police explained they are still investigating a motive for the attacks, but said they appear to be random.
Vannatta said the act of violence at the park was especially shocking because it’s often filled with children.
“It hits close to home,” Vannatta said, who has two children himself. “It lets you know you should always be aware of your surroundings.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the number of reported stabbing victims and add additional information from police.