A man who went on a stabbing rampage in Massachusetts, killing two people and wounding others at a house and shopping mall, was suicidal and had just been released from a hospital psychiatric ward, family members said.
"He just snapped," Arthur DaRosa's aunt, Liz, said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.
DaRosa, 28, of Taunton, was shot dead by off-duty Plymouth County Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Creed in a Bertucci's restaurant after Tuesday's stabbing spree.
DaRosa's cousin, Ana, said DaRosa was suicidal and sought treatment at a hospital Monday night. He was released from the facility around 4 a.m. Tuesday, just hours before the attack, according to the cousin.
DaRosa's father said he was surprised when DaRosa was released from the hospital but that his son seemed "normal" and "calm" at the time.
Deadly Stabbing, Shooting in Taunton, Mass.
U.S. & World
Family members told the Boston Herald DaRosa had been battling depression for years and believed the "devil was playing tricks on him." But they described him as a loving father and caring friend.
Liz DaRosa said the situation "could have been prevented." She said DaRosa sought help for mental illness and suicidal thoughts, but was treated for anxiety instead.
"He asked for help. He wanted the help," she said. "They didn't treat him for what his sickness was or his mental illness - they treated him for something else."
Tuesday's rampage unfolded when DaRosa left his daughter's soccer practice, crashed his car, then walked into a home on Myricks Street in Taunton and fatally stabbed 80-year-old Patricia Slavin. Her 58-year-old daughter, Kathleen Slavin, was also stabbed, suffering serious injuries.
After leaving the Myricks Street home, DaRosa 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," Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said.
Those victims were identified as 45-year-old Wendy Ann Oliveira, 65-year-old Laura Miola, and 38-year-old Jucella Gleason.
Oliveira and Gleason were treated at a local hospital and later released; Miola is still in the hospital but is expected to survive.
Once inside the restaurant, DaRosa stabbed two people, including a 56-year-old man who later died, Quinn said. That victim has been identified as George Heath, a high school teacher in New Bedford.
The other victim was identified as Sheenah Savoy, age 26, who is in serious condition.
Quinn said Heath was fatally stabbed as he tried to get the knife away from DaRosa.
Creed - the sheriff's deputy - was eating dinner at the restaurant with his wife when the incident unfolded. He fired a single round at DaRosa, bringing the attack to an end. DaRosa was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Creed then stayed at the scene to assist victims.
"I'd like to thank the off-duty sheriff," Taunton Mayor Tom Hoye said. "If it wasn't for his heroic actions, there could have been more loss of life here this evening."
The Plymouth County Sheriff's Department said in a statement they're proud of Creed's actions. He has been with the sheriff's department since 2005.
"On a personal level, understandably I am proud of Deputy Creed, his heroic actions and his ability to apply his professional training and restraint in an obviously traumatic and perilous situation," Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald Jr. said. "I am also relieved that through his swift and deliberate response, further additional loss of life or injury to other bystanders was averted."
A motive for the attacks remains under investigation, but state police said they have not found any evidence of a connection to terrorism.
The Silver City Galleria reopened Wednesday.