California man charged in July Fourth stabbing that killed 2, injured 3

FILE - Police officers stand guard at the crime scene where police say multiple people were killed and injured in Huntington Beach, Calif., July 5, 2024. Prosecutors said Tuesday, July 9, that Logan Christopher Kelley has been charged with murder and assault in connection with the mass stabbing. (AP Photo/Eugene Garcia, File)

A man who prosecutors say stabbed five people, two fatally, in a July 4 attack on a California beach town has been charged with murder, authorities said Tuesday.

Logan Christopher Kelley, 26, was also charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and battery on a police officer, the district attorney's office announced in a news release. He was charged under a provision known as “special circumstance of multiple murders,” which makes him eligible for the death penalty or life without parole.

The attack took place just after 11 p.m. after Kelley approached a group of people watching fireworks in Huntington Beach, a community southeast of Los Angeles. He had been drinking and took hallucinogenic drugs, prosecutors said, and started stabbing people with a knife.

Eric Hodges, 42; and William Collins, 47, were killed. Two 35-year-old men and one of their fathers, age 68, were injured in the stabbing but were expected to survive, prosecutors said.

Kelley, from the nearby town of Redondo Beach, is not believed to have known anyone in the group, prosecutors said. Several people helped detain him until police arrived, including a 16-year-old boy. Kelley was also charged with assaulting the boy, spitting on a police officer and using a racial slur while being arrested, prosecutors said.

The attack was part of a spate of violence across the U.S. that resulted in at least 33 dead, including 11 in Chicago. The Fourth of July historically is one of the nation’s deadliest days of the year.

“A day of celebrating America and all the freedoms we all enjoy turned into deadly chaos at the hands of a stranger,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.