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3 hailed as heroes in Mass. stabbing rampage

George Heath

CBS Boston

TAUNTON, Mass. -- Authorities are hailing three people as heroes for intervening when a man went on a stabbing rampage at a home and a shopping mall in Taunton, Massachusetts.

District Attorney Thomas Quinn III said Arthur DaRosa was shot and killed by James Creed, an off-duty deputy sheriff who was eating dinner at Bertucci's in the Silver City Galleria on Tuesday when DaRosa stabbed two people.

The prosecutor said teacher George Heath was in Bertucci's and tried to get the knife away from DaRosa. Heath was fatally stabbed. Waitress Sheenah Savoy, who CBS Boston reports is pregnant, suffered serious injuries.

"He saw the waitress being stabbed, and without concern for his safety he intervened and quite possibly saved her life and the lives of others, including his own wife," Quinn told CBS Boston. "This shows extraordinary character and courage that tragically cost him his own life."

Rosemary Heath, Heath's wife, told the station her husband pushed the woman away from the suspect, then blocked him with a chair. She said her husband struggled with the man, then grabbed him around the waist and tried to hold his arms down so he wouldn't be able to go after others.

That's when she said her husband was stabbed in the head.

"He was just laying there, he couldn't even talk," Rosemary Heath told the station. "I didn't care what happened around me or near me or anything else, I just wanted my husband to be okay."

George Heath was a visual design teacher at the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical School. Superintendent-director James O'Brien called Heath a "true gentleman" who had worked at the school for four years.

Creed, the deputy who shot DaRosa, is a five-year veteran of the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department, Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald, Jr. said in a statement. He was off-duty and in civilian clothes when he fired a single round from his personal firearm, McDonald said.

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Deputy James Creed

Plymouth County Sheriff's Department

"On a personal level, understandably I am proud of Deputy Creed, his heroic actions and his ability to apply his professional training and restraint in an obviously traumatic and perilous situation," the statement read. "I am also relieved that through his swift and deliberate response, further additional loss of life or injury to other bystanders was averted."

DaRosa also beat three women in Macy's, where an unidentified store employee tried to stop him.

Quinn said the rampage began after DaRosa left his daughter's soccer practice, crashed his car, then walked into a home and fatally stabbed 80-year-old Patricia Slavin. Her 58-year-old daughter, Kathleen, received serious injuries.

DaRosa's family members say he was mentally ill and has just been released from a hospital psychiatric ward.

Kerri Devries, DaRosa's sister, tells the Boston Herald her brother has been battling depression for years. She says he has recently been suicidal, and the "devil was playing tricks on him." She says he was admitted to the hospital Monday.

DaRosa's father, also Arthur DaRosa, tells the newspaper he was surprised when his son returned from the hospital Tuesday morning, but said he appeared "normal" and calm."