Officials Warn of Stabbing Spree Near UC Davis Campus Sparking Panic

A manhunt was unsuccessful early Tuesday after a third stabbing in Davis in less than a week left a homeless woman in critical condition.

Police said around 5 a.m. that they had lifted orders to shelter in place for downtown Davis residents after law enforcement inundated the city amid an overnight drizzle of rain, searching for an assailant seen running from an encampment near Second and L streets after the stabbing before midnight. An additional shelter-in-place alert was also issued on the UC Davis campus around 1 a.m.

The stabbing is the latest to shake the city following two fatal stabbings in three days, last Thursday and Saturday at Davis parks. The Davis Police Department reported only one homicide death for all of 2022.

“Officers have concluded their detailed search of the downtown Davis area and were not able to locate the suspect,” the Davis Police Department said in its update. “Officers will continue to heavily patrol the area. … Please continue to be aware of your surroundings.”

An emergency alert from police sent just before 1 a.m. said officers responded to a 911 call about a stabbing and were looking for a suspect described as a “light-complected male,” between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-9. Police said the man had a “thin build wearing a black or blue sweatshirt, black Adidas pants with white stripes, black shoes carrying a brown backpack.”

“The suspect was last seen running westbound on Third Street from L Street,” police said.

Lt. Dan Beckwith, a spokesman for the Davis Police Department, said that the victim was stabbed through her tent from the outside before a 911 call was made at 11:46 p.m. Monday. Beckwith said in a 3 a.m. update that the woman was taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and that her condition was considered critical.

“Officers immediately responded and located the female victim who reported that the suspect stabbed her more than one time through the tent,” he said. “The man then fled.”Tents near the scene of a stabbing are blocked by law enforcement vehicles and police tape following a stabbing Monday night at a homeless encampment near 2nd and L streets in Davis. It was the third stabbing in the city in less than a week. Sam Stanton sstanton@sacbee.comLaw enforcement vehicles and police tape block multiple streets Tuesday in Davis, including at 3rd and L streets, following a stabbing at a homeless encampment overnight. It was the third stabbing in the city in less than a week. Sam Stanton

Yard-to-yard searches downtown

K-9 teams and other special personnel from the Yolo and Sacramento County sheriff’s offices, as well as Sacramento police, joined Davis officers in the manhunt.

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Authorities had conducted a “detailed searches of the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown Davis area using drones and canine units,” which included yard-to-yard searches.

Since Thursday, two men have been fatally stabbed, though police have not definitively linked the attacks to one suspect. Authorities said before the third attack that the incidents shared similarities, given the “brutal nature” of the attacks and the weapon used.

“It’s too early to tell — this is extremely preliminary,” Beckwith said. “I can say that the description is similar to what was provided to us in the most recent homicide, however, it’s still very, very early on.”

WarnMe: Shelter in place until further notice. Davis and UC Davis police are searching for a suspect following a stabbing in the area of 2nd and L streets.— UC Davis (@ucdavis) May 2, 2023

The first stabbing occurred Thursday at Central Park in downtown Davis and resulted in the death of David Henry Breaux, 50, who was known as the city’s “Compassion Guy” and was a regular at the park.

The second stabbing was reported about 9 p.m. Saturday at Sycamore Park near Sycamore Lane and Colby Drive, where police found a 20-year-old Davis student, Karim Abou Najm, dead at the scene.

“Despite conducting an exhaustive search of the area surrounding the park for the suspect with the support of other Yolo County law enforcement agencies using canines and drones, the suspect has not yet been located,” police said in the update.

In that incident, police said they were looking for a man between the ages of 19 and 23 and 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-8, describing him as “a light-skinned male, possibly Hispanic,” had “long curly loose hair.”

Students at nearby UC Davis were also asked to shelter in place “until further notice” and the school has deployed “extra private security on campus.” The university shelter-in-place order was lifted just before 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, campus officials said in updates posted to social media.

Both UC Davis and city police were urging people who venture out at night to walk in groups.

‘We don’t want that in our town’

Several blocks north of the latest stabbing, three men stood outside a 7-Eleven near Fifth and L streets armed with a hatchet and their dog, Snooter. One of the men, who would only identify himself as Aaron, said he and his friends had been out Monday night into Tuesday looking for the killer when the attack occurred at the encampment.

“We spoke to firsthand eyewitness,” Aaron said. “There was some sort of altercation that happened and the assailant came back and stabbed someone. The person had left, and changed their clothing, and came back and stabbed the person.”

The three men said the residents of the encampment had “seen him, and talked to him” before the stabbing began.

The men said they were out in hopes of protecting the community.

“We’re local,” Aaron said. “It’s our community.”

One of his friends, wearing a security ball cap and T-shirt and carrying the ax on his belt added, “We don’t want that in our town.”

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