Suspect in East County Stabbings Served Time for Prior Violent Attacks: Prosecutor

Patrick Douglas, 51, is accused in the strange stabbings of two women in El Cajon and unincorporated La Mesa Tuesday

A man accused of stabbing two women in two separate attacks in San Diego’s East County has a criminal history of violence and previously had been sentenced to a combined 16 years behind bars for other offenses.

Patrick Douglas, 51, is being held on $5 million at San Diego Central Jail on two counts of attempted first-degree murder for the stabbings of two women attacked before dawn on Tuesday. He's also charged with attempted assault on an officer and evading law enforcement.

He pleaded not guilty to all counts in court Thursday.

According to Deputy District Attorney Jeff Lazar, Douglas has two violent priors on his record: a 1992 assault and a 1996 home invasion. He served two years behind bars for the first offense and was sentenced to 14 years for the latter. In it unclear how much time he served of that second sentence.

At Douglas’ arraignment Thursday in an El Cajon courtroom, Lazar said surveillance videos captured part of the defendant’s strange crime spree. 

NBC 7's Artie Ojeda has the latest on an early morning crime spree in the East County.

Douglas’ first victim – whose name has not yet been released by police – was found wounded in the parking lot of a Grocery Outlet Bargain Market on North Second Street near Madison Avenue in El Cajon at around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Lazar said surveillance cameras captured her attack. The footage shows Douglas walking to the passenger side of a car in the parking lot. He can then be seen "lunging" toward her with what the prosecutor described as a "punching, stabbing motion" between five to 10 times.

The victim suffered four to six stab wounds, Lazar said, plus several broken bones to the right side of her face. It is unclear, at this point, if the woman and Douglas had any sort of contact prior to the stabbing.

The suspect’s second victim – identified as Dina Hammond, 35 – is a delivery truck driver for Frito Lay. Investigators said Hammond was stabbed just after 3 a.m. outside a 7-Eleven store on Avocado Boulevard near Fuerte Drive in unincorporated La Mesa, about three miles away from the scene of the first attack.

We're learning more about the two victims stabbed early Tuesday morning in San Diego's East County. NBC 7's Mackenzie Maynard reports.

After she was stabbed, Hammond walked into the convenience store to seek help. She said she had been wounded and dropped to the ground. A customer applied pressure to her wounds while a store employee called 911.

Deputies received emergency calls about Hammond's stabbing approximately six minutes after the first victim was stabbed, Lazar said.

Surveillance cameras did not capture the assault on Hammond but did record the moment when Douglas first approached her. He and Hammond briefly disappeared from the camera’s view. Approximately 20 seconds later, Hammond can be seen on the video holding her chest and collapsing inside the 7-Eleven.

Witnesses of the second crime said the suspect fled the scene in a black Mercedes Benz.

A man was arrested Tuesday at the end of Freezer Road in Dulzura, about a mile from the Dulzura Winery, near a car belonging to a man suspected in two stabbings in the East County. This news chopper footage shows deputies leading the man out of brush in handcuffs.

Both victims were rushed to hospitals and underwent surgery. They survived the attacks but remain hospitalized. The first victim remained unconscious Thursday in critical condition and has been unable to speak with investigators.

Hammond, who suffered at least two stab wounds to her chest, was recovering and had regained consciousness Wednesday afternoon, Lazar said. She had been able to sit up and speak with police.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) and ECPD said investigators had not yet determined the motive for the attacks or the connection with between the victims and Douglas.

After the stabbings, Douglas led deputies on a high-speed pursuit through areas including Del Rio Road and Calavo Drive in Spring Valley.

Lazar said a deputy tried to pull Douglas over but the suspect tried to hit the deputy with his car. The deputy jumped out of the way and was not harmed. 

The chase continued onto eastbound State Route 94 at speeds over 100 mph. Another deputy in pursuit of the suspect crashed and suffered minor injuries.

Eventually, Douglas' car ran out of gas and he abandoned the Mercedes Benz in an area off SR-94 and Freezer Road in Dulzura, a community about 17 miles southeast of La Mesa.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials spotted the car and a man matching the suspect’s description in a nearby field. Law enforcement officers, with the help of K-9s, teamed up to search the remote area. 

Just after 8 a.m., Douglas was found in the field and his arrest was captured by NBC 7’s news helicopter cameras. Deputies and CBP officers led Douglas out of the field in handcuffs. The SDSO later confirmed that Douglas was the suspect in the pursuit and both stabbings in the East County.

In addition to his convictions for violent crimes, Douglas’ record includes guilty verdicts or pleas for possession of methamphetamine.

Lazar said the investigation is ongoing. Officials are still trying to determine if Douglas knew his victims.

He said the first victim told responding ECPD officers that the person responsible for stabbing her was "a man named Patrick."

Still, Lazar said it has not yet determined how the two knew one another, only that she knew his name.

Since this is a third strike offense for Douglas, if convicted, he faces 97 years to life in prison. Jail booking records indicate he is due back in court on Dec. 13.

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