By Beth David
A New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School teacher was among those killed in a rampage at the Galleria Mall on Tuesday, 5/10.
George Heath, 56, of Taunton, was killed when he intervened in the stabbing of a waitress at Bertucci’s in the mall, saving her life.
Seven people were attacked, with two killed, when Arthur Justin DaRosa, 28, of Taunton, went on a rampage that started at a home that seems to be randomly chosen, and then went to the mall, where he attacked women at Macy’s, then at Bertucci’s.
Off-duty Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy James Creed shot and killed Mr. DaRosa in Bertucci’s.
According to a statement by Bristol County District Attorney William Quinn, Mr. DaRosa left a soccer field where his child was at practice and drove to Myricks Street, where he attempted to enter various homes.
At around 6:30 p.m., he gained entry to a home where mother and daughter Patricia, 80, and Kathleen Slavin, 48, were having dinner. Mr. DaRosa stabbed both women. Patricia died from her wounds. Kathleen is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in stable condition.
According to a statement read by DA Quinn at a press conference, at approximately 6:40 p.m., DaRosa crashed into the front door of the Macy’s department store at the mall. He ran into Macy’s and physically assaulted at least three women inside the store. The women all sustained non-life-threatening injuriess.
DaRosa then went into Bertucci’s, where he armed himself with a knife from the restaurant and attacked waitress Sheenah Savoy.
During the stabbing of Ms. Savoy, George Heath intervened in an attempt to stop the assault. Mr. Heath was then stabbed in the head and mortally wounded.
At this time, off duty Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy James Creed, who was having dinner at Bertucci’s with his wife, displayed his badge, identified himself as a law enforcement officer and gave multiple commands for DaRosa to drop the knife. When DaRosa refused to comply, Deputy Creed shot him once in the abdomen. DaRosa was pronounced dead at Morton Hospital.
“We have learned from family members that DaRosa checked himself into Morton Hospital Monday night and was released early Tuesday morning. His sister has indicated that he was acting in a disturbed manner and making irrational statements earlier on Monday, and she suggested to him that he needed to seek help. We are in the process of following up on that information,” said DA Quinn. “The only bright spot in this terrible incident is the conduct of two individuals in Bertucci’s.”
Mr. Quinn then praised the actions of Mr. Heath and Mr. Creed.
Mr. DaRosa’s family also made a statement, where they laid the blame squarely on Morton Hospital, saying he was not treated for his condition but released. They asked for people to remember that he was a human being with a family and friends, and not think of him as a monster. They also consistently referred to the incidents as the “accident.”
Mr. Heath’s wife Rosemary, who was with him at Bertucci’s, wrote on her Facebook page: “My sweet, caring, adorable, funny, love of my life was stabbed at the Taunton mall last night. His wound was too extensive and he died. He LOVED his job, his STUDENTS, his LIFELONG friends and his FAMILY.”
She asked that people remember him and not the man who killed him.
Also hurt in the attack were: Wendy Ann Oliveira, 45 who has been released from the hospital; Laura Miola, 65, who is expected to recover; Jucelia Gleason, 38, who has been released from the hospital.
For DA Quinn’s full statement, visit https://fairhavenneighborhoodnews.com/2016-2/
To see this week’s full issue click: https://fairhavenneighborhoodnews.com/2016-2/