But few details were released about the suspect, a Navy vet who was an officer in the police departments of two small California cities, Exeter and Auburn, during the 1970s.
DeAngelo was fired from the Auburn job in August 1979 for shoplifting a hammer and dog repellent from a store, but Jones said investigators are still not sure whether he raped or killed anybody while on duty.
“We are trying to fill a lot of gaps in his life,” the sheriff said. “We don’t have a full picture yet.”
DeAngelo has grown children who are cooperating with investigators, he added.
“We have interviewed some family members,” Jones said. “This was certainly a shock to them.”
Also at the news conference was Bruce Harrington, whose brother Keith Harrington and sister-in-law Patrice Harrington were beaten to death in August 1980 at their Dana Point home. They were newlyweds.
After the couple were killed, Harrington bankrolled an initiative passed by California voters in 2004 that mandates collection of DNA samples from people arrested in felony cases.
“Bravo, bravo,” he said, applauding the detectives who arrested DeAngelo. And to the surviving loved ones of the victims, he added this:
“Sleep better tonight, he isn’t coming through the window. He’s in jail, and he’s history.”
DeAngelo, who was also dubbed the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker, was blamed for a raft of crimes up and down California starting in 1974 and ending — for reasons still unexplained — in 1986. His victims ranged in age from 13 to 41.
From Sacramento south to the Los Angeles suburbs, the masked gunman raped women who were home alone and women who were with their children, and killed women and men together, police said.