STOCKTON — An unemployed cook stabbed his father, his grandmother, his girlfriend and her 3-year-old son to death after a family argument, but spared his own two young children, police said Tuesday.
Richard R. Brown Jr., 27, used a kitchen knife to carry out the killings late Saturday or early Sunday, police said.
Brown was arrested Monday night while driving back to the home where the slayings took place. He was surrounded by police when he came to a halt at a stop sign.
"He was crying, he was distraught, he was upset. He made statements that led to his arrest," said police spokesman Doug Anderson.
Brown was held without bail on charges of murder and of endangering his two children. He was booked into San Joaquin County Jail pending arraignment and placed on medical watch.
The surviving children, both younger than 2, were in good condition, although they showed early signs of dehydration after being left alone in the home for 24 to 36 hours, Anderson said. The children were placed in protective custody.
The victims were identified as Patricia Burdick, 21, Brown's girlfriend and the mother of 3-year-old victim Anthony Peterson; Brown's grandmother, Sallie Wyatt, 75; and Brown's father, Richard R. Brown Sr., 56.
A health care worker who came to the house Monday morning to take Wyatt to a dialysis treatment discovered one of the toddlers in the house unattended, Anderson said.
He entered the house, saw Wyatt's body, took the toddler and left to call authorities. The Fire Department found the other bodies and the second surviving child.
Brown was not the father of the 3-year-old, but Burdick was the mother of the two children who were spared, Anderson said.
Tuesday morning, relatives gathered at Brown's home, near railroad tracks in a working-class neighborhood.
When Brown was questioned about a motive, Anderson said: "What we've got at this point was anger. There was an argument, a family dispute, he became angry, got a knife and stabbed the victims" multiple times.
Brown had not previously been charged with violent offenses, although he had some misdemeanor arrests for infractions that Anderson would not divulge.