01:13 - Source: WCVB
Police: Suspect, 2 victims killed in attacks
CNN —  

The family of a Massachusetts man who stabbed two people to death and wounded five others said Wednesday they think the tragedy could have been prevented.

Relatives told reporters in the Boston suburb of Taunton that Arthur DaRosa was a good family man who recently began to have mental issues he wanted doctors to help him with.

The women, who didn’t identify themselves on camera, said DaRosa went Monday to a hospital by ambulance but was discharged the next morning without being treated.

Later Tuesday he abruptly left his daughter’s soccer practice and went to a home where he stabbed two women, killing one. Then he went to a mall, stabbed three people at Macy’s and entered a restaurant where he wounded a waitress and killed a man who came to her aid.

An off-duty deputy who was at the restaurant fatally shot DaRosa after he wouldn’t put the knife down.

“It could have been prevented,” said one of DaRosa’s family members. “They didn’t treat him for what his sickness was or his mental illness. They treated him for something else.”

Morton Hospital and Medical Center, where the family said he was taken, didn’t reply to CNN’s request for comment about the family’s allegations.

CNN affiliate WBZ reported the hospital released a statement that said: “Morton Hospital extends our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of yesterday’s events. … Under federal law, Morton Hospital is barred from acknowledging patient names or disclosing any form of confidential patient information. This law extends to patients whose evaluations and assessments are legally required to be led and conducted by third parties selected through MassHealth.”

The state agency that oversees hospitals, Health and Human Services, said it is cooperating with law enforcement. It also will “carefully review the details of this situation,” a spokesman said.

Beloved teacher killed

One of the killer’s victims at Silver City Galleria mall was a 56-year-old teacher named George Heath. Authorities said he tried to rescue waitress Sheenah Savoy and was stabbed in the head as he tussled with the killer.

“He was a hero,” his wife, Rosemary Heath, told WBZ. “He was my hero … he was just the light of my life.”

George Heath taught visual design at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.

“He LOVED his job, his STUDENTS, his LIFELONG friends and his FAMILY,” his wife wrote on Facebook.

The school said he had great passion and his students developed a love of learning.

Savoy was in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital, authorities said.

Patricia Slavin, 80, one of the victims from the attack at a house, also died. Kathleen Slavin, 48, was listed in stable condition.

The three victims at Macy’s – Wendy Ann Oliveira, 45; Laura Miola, 65; and Jucelia Gleason, 38 – suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The questions begin

At an earlier news conference, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn declined to comment on the suspect’s possible mental issues, but said that would be a line of inquiry in the investigation

Quinn said DaRosa’s sister said her brother had been acting strangely the day before the stabbings, making weird statements.

Meanwhile the family, without specifying what DaRosa’s mental illness was, said he had troubles for the past few months.

“He had his good days; he had his bad days,” one woman said. She said he didn’t take medications and didn’t do illegal drugs. Another said there was no official diagnosis of his condition.

DaRosa, who worked for a company that removed lead from buildings, didn’t know the victims, relatives said.

And his behavior was out of the ordinary, they said.

“AJ is not a terrorist. He was someone’s child,” a woman said.

The women theorized that DaRosa snapped, but had no explanation for why he became a killer.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” one said.

CNN’s John Newsome, Michael Pearson, Chuck Johnston and Lawrence Crook III contributed to this report.