Man charged in deadly 4th of July stabbing in Huntington Beach

The man charged with special circumstances murder for the stabbing deaths of two people during a 4th of July celebration in Huntington Beach could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole, the Orange County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.

The suspect, 26-year-old Logan Christopher Kelley of Huntington Beach, was allegedly drinking and taking hallucinogenic drugs when he approached a random group of people watching fireworks in the street near 16th Street and Pecan Avenue around 11:15 p.m. 

That's when he allegedly fatally stabbed 47-year-old William Thomas Collins and 42-year-old Eric Clayton Hodges and injured three others.

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The neighborhood of multi-family buildings in Old Town Huntington Beach sits a few blocks away from the coastline where the city hosted its Independence Day Celebration "Fireworks over the Ocean", drawing huge crowds to the beach. 

Collins was stabbed in the lung and neck, while Hodges was stabbed in the heart, officials said. Both men died at the scene. 

The three other stabbing victims - two 35-year-old men and one of those men's 68-year-old father - were taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities said Kelley is not believed to have had any connection with the victims before the stabbing.

Several people, including a 16-year-old boy, helped detain Kelley until police arrived, authorities said. Kelley is also accused of spitting on a Huntington Beach police officer and using a racial slur while he was being arrested.

"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. "We as Americans should be able to enjoy spending time with our friends and families without worrying about being brutally stabbed in the street in a random attack."

Kelley is charged with two felony counts of murder with the special circumstance of multiple murders, three felony counts of attempted murder, one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, and one misdemeanor count of battery on a police officer. He has also been charged with a felony enhancement of personal use of a deadly weapon. 

Kelley is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.