TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) – Authorities are trying to determine why a man went on a stabbing rampage in Massachusetts, killing two people and assaulting and stabbing more in a house and a shopping mall before being shot dead by a fast-acting off-duty sheriff's deputy.
The suspect in the attacks was identified as Arthur DaRosa, of Taunton.
"Tragedy has certainly hit the city of Taunton hard here this evening," Taunton Mayor Tom Hoye said during a news conference late Tuesday about the bloodshed.
Authorities said it all began when DaRosa, 28, crashed a car outside of a house in the city, about 40 miles south of Boston. He walked inside the home and stabbed two women. An 80-year-old was taken to a hospital, where she later died. The other woman was being treated for life-threatening injuries.
DaRosa then drove to the Silver City Galleria mall, where he crashed into the front of a Macy's department store, authorities said.
"He then exited the vehicle, assaulted multiple people inside Macy's before making his way on foot to Bertucci's Italian restaurant," said Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III.
Once inside the restaurant, he stabbed two people, including a 56-year-old man who later died, Quinn said. An off-duty sheriff's deputy intervened and shot DaRosa once. The suspect was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"I'd like to thank the off-duty sheriff, Hoye said. "If it wasn't for his heroic actions there could have been more loss of life here this evening."
Witnesses described the scene at the mall as chaotic.
Alex Mace and Jenn Breault told WBZ-TV that they had just arrived when they spotted a young girl hiding in the bushes outside of Bertucci's.
"She wasn't really crying you could just tell she was scared for her life, she was kind of hiding behind a bush with her head down, Mace told the television station.
The young girl told the couple what she had just seen.
"She saw a guy walk in and he grabbed a chair to hurt one of the waitresses and she saw him stab the waitress," Breault said.
Authorities did not immediately identify the victims or what connections they may have had, if any, to the suspect.
A motive for the attacks remains under investigation, but state police said they have not found any evidence of a connection to terrorism.