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'Most Notorious Crimes' book found in serial killer suspect's home

Donald Hopkins

Dramatic details emerged Wednesday about Orange County serial killer suspect Itzcoatl Ocampo, who is charaged in the slayings of four homeless men.

Authorities seized a Life Magazine book titled "The Most Notorious Crimes in American History" and a knife sharpener from Ocampo's Yorba Linda home the day after he was arrested in the stabbing deaths of four Orange County homeless men, according to court documents obtained by The Times.

New information was revealed Wednesday about his capture.

PHOTOS: Serial killer targets O.C. homeless

Donald Hopkins, 32, a warehouse forklift operator and married father of two, was inside a nearby CVS when a man ran into the store screaming for help. Hopkins said he has no military or law enforcement experience but still ran toward the scene.

"I wish I could explain it, but I can't. I just reacted," he said. "I didn't even think twice."

He said he had "tunnel vision" on the killer, whose back was to Hopkins. Hopkins started yelling for the attacker to stop. When Hopkins was about 15 feet away, the killer turned and saw him, then sprinted across the parking lot. Hopkins ran after him.

"I never looked back," Hopkins said Wednesday. He recalled that his hands were shaking as he tried to call 911; he finally had to slow to a jog to complete the call. He saw the killer shed a sweatshirt and gloves. When police arrived minutes later, Hopkins was able to point them in the direction the attacker ran.

Officials and some residents returned to the shopping center Wednesday to honor Hopkins. He was given a $5,000 check and a plaque from the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs for his role in the arrest of a suspect. That group and the Anaheim Police Assn. also donated a combined $5,000 to Mercy House, which provides support services for the homeless.

"It's crazy," Hopkins said, after accepting the reward. "It's a lot to take in. I'm just happy we were able to catch him."

He said that while he was running, he was fearful that he could be stabbed. "But it happened so quickly I didn't really have time to think," he said.

Hopkins said his family thinks "the world of me right now." He is seeking counseling for what he saw, as the scene is "stuck on repeat" in his head.

"I feel like I was watching a movie," he said.

In the search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Anaheim Police Det. Mark Lillemoen said Hopkins chased the attacker to a gate on the west side of Friendly Village, a mobile home park next to the shopping center. "Hopkins did not go in the gate because he feared Ocampo would attempt to stab him," Lillemoen wrote.

In the search warrant, Lillemoen justified taking the clothing from Ocampo's room. Because each of the victims was stabbed, he wrote, "I believe there may be items containing remnants or stains of blood on them."

RELATED:

Suspected O.C. serial killer held in solitary confinement

Four murder counts filed against accused O.C. homeless killer

Ex-Marine accused in homeless killings often gave money to needy

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Anaheim

Photo: Donald Hopkins tries to control his emotions after being awarded $5,000 for helping authorities capture Itzcoatl Ocampo, the man suspected of fatally stabbing four homeless men in Orange County. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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