A series of recent stabbings, two of them fatal, in a Northern California college town prompted a plea from police for residents to remain vigilant and prompted a university to switch to remote evening classes.
«The safety of our community is always our top priority,» Davis Mayor Will Arnold said in a Press conference on Tuesday. «We are using all available resources to solve these crimes to end this violence and keep our community safe.»
The first stabbing was reported around 11:20 a.m. on April 27. Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said at the news conference that officers responded to a wellness check of an unresponsive man in the city’s Central Park. The man, David Henry Breaux, 50, was found hunched over a bench with «very significant stab wounds,» the chief told reporters, calling it a «very violent attack.»
Breaux was homeless and appeared to be sleeping on the bench, according to Pytel.
Two days later, at around 9:14 p.m., a resident reported hearing a disturbance outside his home near Sycamore Park. Police said the man went to investigate and found the victim, 20-year-old Karim Abou-Najm, with what appeared to be multiple stab wounds.
The man called 911 and «had a brief interaction with the fleeing suspect,» Pytel said. Abou-Najm, a student at the University of California, Davis, died of his injuries.
Chief Pytel said the fatal stabbings «were particularly brutal and violent with both victims sustaining many significant injuries.»
The third stabbing occurred Monday around 11:36 p.m. and involved a homeless woman who said she was stabbed multiple times through her store, according to the police chief. She underwent surgery at the hospital and is currently in the intensive care unit in critical but stable condition, she said.
The attacks prompted the University of California, Davis, to switch to remote learning for all classes that end after 6 p.m. Daytime operations remain unchanged, Chancellor Gary S. May said in a statement. letter to the school community on Tuesday. Added additional security throughout the campus.
The victim of Monday’s outage and the witness to the April 29 incident provided authorities with a description of the suspect. civil servants described The suspect in Monday’s incident was a man with curly hair and a slight build who was wearing a black or blue sweatshirt, black Adidas pants, black shoes and a brown backpack.
Pytel told reporters that the two descriptions received are «substantially similar» to each other, but investigators are still trying to determine if all three involve the same perpetrator.
«At this point, we are still determining if the two are related but… both were knife attacks and the descriptions were reasonably close. Although there is consistency, in a sense, with the first incident, we are still trying to determine if the first homicide is related to the second homicide and if these are related to last night’s stabbing,» the chief said Tuesday.
Authorities conducted a search of homes in the area of the stabbing Monday, but have not located a suspect. A shelter in place was issued but was later lifted.
Pytel urged residents to remain vigilant and encouraged a buddy system. He said the suspect in Monday’s stabbing was «blatant» and had an interaction with several witnesses.
«That is particularly concerning and the suspect did not seem to mind that there were multiple witnesses who could identify him,» he told reporters.
The boss added: «People have to make smart decisions about where they’re going and what they’re doing and whether they can pay attention to their surroundings. And of course people have to have a buddy system.» at the moment. I think that’s an appropriate and reasonable response.»
The police department said it has received hundreds of tips and is working with the FBI and other agencies.