In two separate attacks before dawn Tuesday, two women suffered multiple stab wounds prompting a massive search effort for a man considered armed and dangerous and driving a Mercedes Benz.
The first victim, identified only as an adult female, was found in the parking lot of a strip mall in El Cajon. The second victim, a 35-year-old delivery truck driver now identified by deputies as Dina Hammond, collapsed inside a 7-Eleven near La Mesa.
Both women were rushed to nearby hospitals and underwent surgery. They survived the attacks but were in critical condition Tuesday, Lt. Tom Seiver with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) said. On Wednesday, the SDSO said the victims were both in stable condition.
Deputies and El Cajon Police Department investigators say they do not have a motive in either attack or a connection between the victims and the man they say may have perpetrated the crime.
On Wednesday, SDSO investigators confirmed the suspect in both stabbings is Patrick Douglas, 51. He is currently being held without bail at San Diego Central Jail on two counts of attempted murder. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
Douglas was arrested by deputies and border officials just after 8 a.m. Tuesday in an area off State Route 94 and Freezer Road in Dulzura, near a spot where he had abandoned his car.
At that point, deputies said the man was being held on suspicion of evading arrest in a high-speed pursuit but did not confirm he was arrested in the investigation involving two stabbings.
After a coordinated investigation between the SDSO and the El Cajon Police Department, investigators determined Douglas was the suspect in the stabbings.
Douglas has had several run-ins with the law in his 20s and 30s, according to court documents. Those include guilty verdicts or pleas for possession of methamphetamine, two felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, a robbery and burglary charge as well as an 8-year prison sentence.
"The motive is currently under investigation and obviously, that’s key to our investigation and we’re trying to determine that," said SDSO Lt. Thomas Seiver.
Meanwhile, the victims were being treated for their wounds.
The first stabbing victim, found at the Grocery Outlet parking lot on N 2nd Street near Madison, about 3 a.m., may have been left there after she was stabbed, Lt. Walt Miller with El Cajon Police said.
Miller said the victim had been stabbed multiple times in the upper torso.
Detectives were reviewing video surveillance systems to determine where the woman was stabbed.
They are also trying to determine if there is any relationship between Douglas and the woman found stabbed in the strip mall parking lot.
Three miles away, in unincorporated La Mesa, a Frito Lay truck driver walked into a convenience store, said she had been stabbed and dropped to the ground.
San Diego County Sheriff's deputies are investigating that stabbing, which occurred outside of the 7-Eleven on Avocado Boulevard near Fuerte Drive, about 3 a.m.
A customer applied pressure to the woman's stab wounds while the store clerk called 911.
A coworker told NBC 7 the woman is a relief driver, meaning she fills in for other employees when they are on vacation or for special assignments. He said she had filled in for him recently as well.
Witnesses in the La Mesa stabbing said the suspect was driving what appeared to be a Mercedes Benz sedan.
A car matching the description was spotted driving near Del Rio Road and Calavo Drive in Spring Valley, deputies said.
When deputies tried to stop the driver, the vehicle continued traveling east on State Route 94 at speeds over 100 mph.
A deputy involved in the pursuit crashed and was transported to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees alerted deputies to a black Mercedez Benz matching the suspect's description. The car was found abandoned near Dulzura.
Law enforcement officers searched the area with the help of K-9s.
Just after 8 a.m., Newschopper 7 captured video of a handcuffed man -- now identified as Douglas -- being led out of a remote area by officers wearing U.S. Border Patrol uniforms.
Investigators confirmed the arrest of a man near SR-94 and Freezer Road matching the description of the suspect who led deputies on a pursuit.
"We believe we know who the suspect is," Capt. Marco Garmo, Rancho San Diego Command with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said earlier in the day.
Garmo said the sheriff's department was dedicating all county resources to identifying and capturing the suspect.
Hours later, Seiver could not confirm the man arrested was wanted in the stabbings but did say the agency was not looking for any other suspects in the case.
But investigators said the suspect has a criminal background.
It is not known yet what led to the stabbings or how they are connected.