On Wednesday, Davis police said that they had detained a person of interest in the serial stabbing case that has left two men dead and one woman in critical condition, and on Thursday they confirmed the man, a UC Davis student, is a suspect and has been booked into jail.
The suspect, who was reportedly spotted by an area resident sitting near the playground in Sycamore Park on Wednesday — near the site of the second of the three stabbings — was taken in for questioning without incident, as the Davis Enterprise reported.
The man, now identified as 21-year-old Carlos Dominguez of Davis, was reportedly wearing Adidas track pants and has dark, shoulder-length hair, which are both part of the suspect description given by witnesses. As the Davis Police Department announced on Facebook, "a large fixed blade knife" was found on Dominguez's person at the time of his arrest. A search warrant is also being served at his residence.
Dominguez was a student at UC Davis "up until last week," according to Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel. Pytel said the department was still gathering background information on the suspect. Campus newspaper The California Aggie says that Dominguez was "separated for academic reasons" from the university last week, around the time that this stabbing spree began.
"Dominguez was interviewed at length and officers collected significant evidence from his person including the clothes he was wearing which appeared to be identical to the clothing description provided after the 3rd attack," police say.
Dominguez was officially booked on suspicion of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, as well as a knife charge, around 1 p.m. Thursday. See the full press conference here.
The department offered gratitude to the FBI and multiple local law enforcement agencies that offered assistance in the investigation, but it may have been community tips that helped the most.
“This is remarkable, and our community should be proud of everyone who stepped up,” said Chief Pytel in a statement. “I do believe they, and all the law enforcement personnel, especially the members of the Davis Police Department, who were involved in this investigation along the way, may have saved more lives."
The Department said Thursday that there were 15 tips from the area of Sycamore Park on Wednesday afternoon that "directly resulted in the arrest of Carlos Dominguez."
On Thursday morning, police initially posted to Facebook saying they were waiting to release further details until after a service that is happening for the second stabbing victim, 20-year-old UC Davis student Karim Abou Najm. Police are giving a press conference at 2 p.m., likely to discuss the person of interest.
The first stabbing occurred last Thursday, April 27, in broad daylight, in Davis' Central Park. The victim was a well known fixture in the community, 50-year-old David Breaux who had long posted up at a bench in the park and was known as The Compassion Guy, because he would ask strangers to define their take on "compassion." Several years ago, with help from a local group, he self-published a book on the topic.
Najm was stabbed Saturday night around 9 p.m. in Sycamore Park. A 911 caller had reported a dispute occurring in the area, and there were apparently witnesses to what occurred, or to the assailant.
A 64-year-old homeless woman was then stabbed through her tent at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Either just before or just after this incident, a homeless couple living in a tent nearby described seeing the assailant, who fit a previously released description, and one of them began to, but then stopped, chasing him down.
As KTVU reports, Davis police detained several people for questioning in recent days, though none has been named as a suspect so far.
The stabbings left the city and the UC Davis campus on edge all of this week, with the university taking added precautions including making all night classes remote. As the Mercury News reports, the school has also adjusted its security staffing and expanded a program that provides safe rides to and from campus.
Photo via VisitDavis.org
This post has been updated throughout.