Prosecutors filed attempted murder charges against the 23-year-old son of a Lancaster mayoral candidate in the apparent racially motivated stabbings of two black men at separate Lancaster bars.
Deputies arrested Sean Delaney on Wednesday night at the Tipsy Bull bar after he was tackled and held down by patrons, Sheriff's Lt. Gordon Carn said.
Delaney pleaded not guilty Thursday to two counts of attempted murder.
Onus Clark, 44, of Lancaster, was stabbed in the neck as he played pool at the Britisher Bar, and remains hospitalized. He could be released from the hospital in the next few days, Carn said.
Shannon Thomas, 37, was stabbed several times in the chest at the Tipsy Bull, and was treated at a hospital and released.
Tom Delaney, 63, a bail bondsman and mayoral candidate, said his son has "psychological problems that I hope will be brought up in court."
"He's bipolar," the father said. "I believe this is a mental problem."
He said he would not withdraw from the Lancaster mayoral race, although he said his son's arrest was weighing on him emotionally and politically.
"Right now, the mayor candidacy is on the back burner," Delaney said. "I'm not going to quit, but I'm totally worried about my son."
He said he had a fundraiser scheduled for Thursday night at a restaurant, but that the restaurant's management canceled because of telephoned threats.
"Whatever happened, my prayers are with the victims," Delaney said.
The problems started about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Britisher Bar as Sean Delaney, a female friend and his father were having drinks, Carn said.
The younger Delaney started shouting about his hatred toward other races and reciting "White Power" slogans, Carn said.
"One witness said he yelled, 'Heil Hitler,' " Carn said. "He got into some type of argument with the management" and the Delaney party was asked to leave.
Tom Delaney left, according to Carn, but his son walked to the Tipsy Bull across the street, where he was again asked to leave.
About 11:20 p.m., Delaney returned to the Britisher Bar with a butcher knife, walked past several patrons and stabbed Clark in the neck, Carn said.
Delaney then went back to the Tipsy Bull, exchanged greetings with Thomas and then stabbed him at least three times in the chest before the victim was able to push him away and bar patrons stopped the attack, Carn said.
Delaney, who is being held at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles on $1-million bail, has a record that includes burglary, forgery and drug-related convictions, Carn said.
The stabbings were the first hate crimes reported this year in Lancaster, where 16 were reported last year, Carn said.
In one 2003 case, a black man was shot by a white gunman riding in a car with Latinos, Carn said. In another, vandals hit 11 Lancaster churches with anti-Christian graffiti, prompting the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to approve a $10,000 reward in November for information leading to their arrests and convictions.