Homeless man held in ‘random, senseless’ death of 74-year-old Carmichael resident

A homeless man is suspected of killing a 74-year-old Carmichael man in what sheriff’s officials are calling a “random and senseless homicide.”

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said Darin Chastain, 54, fatally attacked James C. Raleigh on Wednesday evening. Witnesses described a screaming Chastain throwing rocks at Raleigh’s garage door in the 6200 block of Kenneth Avenue before Chastain set upon Raleigh when he walked outside to investigate. Deputies said Chastain was under the influence and wandering the neighborhood in the moments before the incident.

Chastain reportedly ran off after the 8:44 p.m. attack but was captured minutes later by deputies.

After the attack, Raleigh was being interviewed by deputies when he collapsed, sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Rodney Grassmann said in a statement. Deputies tried to revive the Carmichael man before Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District personnel arrived. Raleigh was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Chastain remained held without bail Friday at Sacramento County Main Jail awaiting a 3 p.m. arraignment on a felony charge of murder in Sacramento Superior Court.

The fatal attack comes amid growing frustration over homelessness and public safety in the capital region. Sacramento County Supervisor Rich Desmond, who represents the area, said in a Thursday social media post, “The number of unhoused on our streets has become a direct threat to our ability to create a thriving, secure and peaceful neighborhoods throughout the county.”

Raleigh was a longtime friend of Desmond and family, the supervisor said. A shaken Desmond took to Facebook to express his sorrow and frustration.

“I am heartbroken over the gruesome and senseless murder of a Carmichael man outside of his own home last night,” Desmond wrote. “While every loss of life is hard, this one particularly hits close to home.”