The 33-year-old Garden Grove man was taken into custody after he came out of a 7-Eleven in Santa Ana, southeast of Los Angeles, and dropped a knife along with a handgun that he had taken from a guard, police said.
The violence appeared to be random and the only known motives seem to be “robbery, hate, homicide,” Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said at a news conference.
“We know this guy was full of anger and he harmed a lot of people tonight,” he said.
The suspect and all the victims were Hispanic, he added.
The attacks on more than a half-dozen places took place over about two hours in Garden Grove and neighboring Santa Ana.
The two people who were injured were listed in stable condition late Wednesday night and were expected to survive, Whitney said.
Detectives were interviewing the man and also expected to be at the various crime scenes through the night in order to collect evidence for a court case, Whitney said. Surveillance cameras caught some of the carnage.
“We have video showing him attacking these people and conducting these murders,” he said.
Whitney said the man lived in a Garden Grove apartment building where he stabbed two men during some kind of confrontation. One man died inside an apartment and another was found wounded on the balcony and died at a hospital.
Whitney said a bakery also was robbed.
The owner, who asked not to be identified, told KCAL-TV that she was charging her cellphone at about 4 p.m. when the man drove up and apparently mistook her for a customer.
“He went directly to the register and tried to open the register ... he showed me a gun,” she said. He took all the money and fled.