Anaheim grandfather says murder suspect attacked him minutes before killing neighbor

Jessica De Nova Image
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Anaheim murder suspect allegedly attacked another man first
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A suspect in the fatal beating of a 70-year-old man in Anaheim had another violent encounter with a local grandfather just a short time earlier.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- A grandfather said he shook hands with an accused murderer seconds before the suspect turned on him and just minutes before police say the suspect beat a neighbor to death.

Surveillance video shows an accused murderer, just minutes before Anaheim police say he beat 70-year-old Rahmatolah "David" Yaghoubi to death outside the victim's home, unprovoked.

The suspect, 30-year-old David Steven Abbott, walking with a dog on Memorial Day, appeared to be looking up at the sky.

Abbott walked up to Luis Vera's home and waved. It was just before noon according to Vera.

Vera said he was in the garage with his daughter and granddaughter and went to see if the man needed help, but after shaking Abbott's hand, Vera said things got strange.

"Just stares into my eyes and kind of frowns and then all I see is his hand coming up and hits me right toward the back of the head right over here," Vera said.

After stumbling back, Vera said he was able to stay on his feet.

"I'm yelling at him, 'What's your problem? What did I do to you? What did I do?' He's just yelling at me, just telling me I don't belong here. 'You need to go back,'" Vera said.

Vera's daughter ran inside with her baby and called police.

Minutes later the search was on for Abbott.

RELATED: Suspect in custody after unprovoked fatal attack on 70-year-old man in Anaheim

Officers were unable to catch the suspect before they say he struck again around 12:20 p.m. His next victim - Yaghoubi - lost his life later in a local hospital.

Yaghoubi's Caltrans co-workers and his brothers tried to make sense of their loss, describing him as as honest and caring.

"I'm heartbroken," John Yaghoubi said, adding, "this act killed our family. He was a leader and I just don't know how to take it."

Caltrans Orange County District 12 Public Information Officer Darcy Birden issued this statement:

Rahmatolah Yaghoubi, known as David by his colleagues, spent more than 17 years with Caltrans District 12 as a Civil Transportation and Environmental Engineer. Though he served in many ways, David's primary duty was preventing and identifying soil contamination. While he took his job preventing health hazards seriously, he was a bright light to his Caltrans Family. He was a gentle and kind soul who always went the extra mile. A close friend recently shared that David shortened his vacation to assist a colleague.

Many people at Caltrans learned of David's passing today. We are hurt, we are sad, we are angry, but we are happy too. Happy that we had to opportunity to know David. As we mourn his loss, we are also keeping his friends and family outside of Caltrans in our thoughts and prayers.

Court records show Abbott was out on bail for an assault with a deadly weapon case from May 15.

After hearing what happened minutes after his encounter, Vera felt lucky to be alive.

"You know, I feel sorry for the people," Vera said of Yaghoubi's family, adding, "if I would've confronted him or even tackled him, if he had a knife or weapon, that would've been me."

A spokesperson for the Orange County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday they expected to file charges against Abbott for this case Wednesday. Abbott's bail was set to $10 million.