SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — A Sacramento County homeless man is in jail for what the sheriff’s office describes as a random and senseless homicide.
Jail records show 54-year-old Darin Chastain has been charged with homicide for allegedly killing a Carmichael man on Kenneth Avenue Wednesday night near Ancil Hoffman Park.
“I just felt sad for his family, for the victim because it was just so random and senseless,” Lt. Rod Grassmann said.
Grassmann said Chastain, who was allegedly under the influence at the time and has a lengthy criminal history, killed 74-year-old James Raleigh in a Carmichael neighborhood.
A resident told police Chastain was outside the victim’s house screaming and throwing rocks at the garage. When the victim came outside, Chastain attacked.
“That homeless subject engaged him in a fight, a fairly brutal fight, and then fled on foot,” Grassmann said. “When the deputies arrived, as they were talking to Mr. Raleigh, he collapsed on the ground in front of them. He had trouble breathing.”
Raleigh was taken to the hospital, where he later died. His family was grieving the loss and not ready to speak out at the moment.
“It is very sad, especially that man. He is a nice guy, he never bothered anybody,” a resident said.
The resident lives nearby and did not want to be identified, but he says the homeless population in Carmichael is becoming a big issue.
“It is getting to be a big problem around here. I had a guy mouth off to me at Safeway when I was carrying a baby into the store,” the resident said.
The latest incident comes on the heels of another homeless man, Mikilo Rawls, accused of killing 20-year-old Emma Roark in Rancho Cordova earlier this year.
Sacramento County Supervisor Richard Desmond voiced that crimes like this and others around Sacramento County are happening to often and are keeping the city and county from “thriving”.
“I want to state clearly that this level of crime will never be acceptable in our community,” Desmond said. “I know my constituents are frustrated over the recent increase in crime in the city and county, and I’m frustrated too. The number of unhoused on our streets has become a direct threat to our ability to create thriving, secure and peaceful neighborhoods throughout the county.”
Grassmann says there are more incidents that happen at a much smaller scale. A recent homeless count in the county shows more than 9,700 people are without a home, a 60 percent increase since 2019.
Grassmann says it is time for the region as a whole to find solutions to this issue, instead of kicking the can down the road.
“I would say a majority of them are not causing criminal activity. But there is a high percentage who are. I think people need to be very hyper-vigilant about what is going on in their neighborhood,” Grassmann said.