DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — Residents of a Northern California university town are frightened and on edge after three people were stabbed within a week — two fatally — with the most recent attempt Monday night when a homeless woman reported being knifed several times through her tent.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Davis Police Department, as are other law enforcement agencies. It’s unclear if the same suspect is responsible for all three stabbings in the downtown Davis area, which also includes the University of California, Davis campus.
Police issued a shelter-in-place order for residents shortly after the stabbing of the woman was reported at 11:45 p.m. Monday. It was lifted hours later after police said they had not caught the suspect, who is described as a male with curly hair, a thin build and carrying a brown backpack.
Davis is a city about 70 miles (112 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco and 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Sacramento, California. An estimated 9,000 U.C. Davis students live on campus, in addition to 67,000 residents of the city.
The first death was reported Thursday before noon when officers found an unresponsive male in downtown’s Central Park.
The victim, David Henry Breaux, 50, was well known in the area for at least the last decade as the “Compassion Guy,” the mayor and city council said in a statement. Breaux often greeted people and asked for their views on compassion, according to the statement.
The second stabbing occurred Saturday around 9:15 p.m. when a resident heard a disturbance and went outside to find a young man at Sycamore Park with multiple stab wounds. Authorities identified the victim as Karim Abou Najm, 20, a student at the university and a graduate of Davis High School.
Police said Monday that investigators were trying to figure out if the two incidents are linked.
“Although there are common factors between these two brutal crimes, such as the brutal nature of the crimes and that the suspect likely used a knife, there are no known connections between the victims,” police said in a statement Monday.
They also have not publicly linked the suspect in the woman’s stabbing to the suspect in Najm’s stabbing, who was described by police as having “long curly loose hair” and being about the same height as the suspect in the third stabbing.
The woman, whom police have not identified, is hospitalized and in critical condition.
Davis police did not respond immediately to a phone call seeking more information. University officials also did not respond immediately to a call and emails seeking information.