Man arrested after ‘accidentally’ stabbing two homeless people in Salt Lake City

The suspect, who is also homeless, is being held without bail, according to court documents.

(Salt Lake City Police Department) A Salt Lake City Patrol vehicle at a crime scene. Salt Lake City police on Saturday, September 17, 2022 arrested a 32-year-old man suspected of stabbing two homeless people to death earlier this month.

Salt Lake City police on Saturday arrested a 32-year-old man who they say stabbed two homeless people in what appeared to be a “random” attack this month.

The first attack was reported around 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 11, in which a 38-year-old woman was stabbed to death near 550 West and 300 South, police said. She was taken to hospital with non-survivable injuries, and police said on Monday that she has since been released.

The second attack happened just after 5 p.m. Saturday in the same area. Witnesses told police the victim was sitting on a park bench when an attacker approached the 39-year-old man from behind and stabbed him in the neck “for no reason,” according to a probable cause statement.

When the man fought back, witnesses said he was stabbed again. The victim was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police said his condition had stabilized on Monday.

The suspect was arrested after Saturday’s attack.

“Right now, these attacks appear to be random and targeted at members of our homeless community,” Chief Mike Brown said in a written statement Monday, noting that detectives were working to determine a motive. “The suspect himself is homeless. We know that people affected by homelessness can be disproportionately victims of victims of others.”

When officers took the suspect into custody on Saturday, “he spontaneously stated that he could not be arrested because police had not found the knife and that officers would never find the knife,” police wrote in the probable statement Cause. The suspect was booked into jail just before 2am on Sunday.

During the arrest, investigators determined that the suspect matched the attacker’s description of the 9/11 stabbing. Witnesses at the time described the attacker to police, but investigators were unable to locate him.

After the suspect’s arrest on Saturday, the victim of the first attack identified him in a photo lineup, according to the probable cause statement.

The document shows that witnesses were reluctant to speak to the officers because they feared the man would retaliate. Officers asked that he be held without bail, and court records show that 3rd Circuit Judge Dianna Gibson agreed.

The suspect is being held on suspicion of aggravated assault on two counts, both felonies, and a violation of probation on a months-old theft conviction. The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not name defendants unless they have been charged with a felony.

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