DAVIS, Calif. — Authorities are working to determine whether three stabbings reported in five days near the University of California, Davis, campus might be connected.
Police ordered residents to shelter in place as they launched a manhunt following a knife attack late Monday night. Authorities said a homeless woman was stabbed several times through her tent at a transient camp near 2nd Street and L Street. The 64-year-old woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of her wounds, KCRA-TV reported. Police said she remained in critical condition on Tuesday.
Isaac Chessman and Christine Berrios, whose tent was next to the victim’s, told the Davis Enterprise that they heard their friend screaming for help on Monday night. They said another neighbor was able to knock the assailant down, but he was able to get away. Berrios said the victim, who they identified as Kim, had wounds to her hip area, the Enterprise reported.
The stabbing was the third in Davis following deadly stabbings on Thursday and Friday. It was not immediately clear whether the attacks were connected. Police have said they have not found any connections between the victims, though UC Davis officials said the suspect in the Monday night stabbing “matches the description of previous stabbing incidents.”
The assailant was described as a man with a light complexion, a thin build and curly hair who stands between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-9. He was last seen wearing a blue or black sweatshirt, black Adidas pants with white stripes and black shoes. Police said he was carrying a brown backpack.
“It’s shaken us up,” resident Rex Pyles, who knew the victim stabbed to death on Thursday, told The Sacramento Bee. He emphasized that the attacks appear to be random.
“It could’ve been any one of us,” he said.
Police launched an investigation Thursday after a passerby found David Henry Breaux, 50, dead at Central Park in downtown Davis. Breaux, who was known locally as “Compassion Guy,” was well known in the community and often seen “waving and greeting folks or asking them to share their view on compassion,” city officials said.
Two days later, a person living near Sycamore Park found UC Davis student Karim Abou Najm, 20, dead after hearing a disturbance at the park. Abou Najm’s father, Majdi Abou Najm, told KCRA that his son was set to graduate college in six weeks and already had two jobs lined up.
“We moved from Lebanon in 2018 when the situation in Lebanon was a little bit starting to go in not the right direction,” Abou Najm told the news station. “We came here hoping for safety.”
Authorities urged people to be aware of their surroundings as they continue to search for the person or people behind the stabbings. They advised that people travel in groups at night, if possible.
Officials with UC Davis said the campus would remain open during the day as the investigation continues. In a statement posted on social media, officials said administrators are “considering potential changes to instruction during the evening hours.”
In the meantime, the university is ramping up its security and offering students safe rides off campus.