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21-year-old arrested over fatal stabbings in quiet college town

By Sarah May
|
May 7, 2023

Residents of Davis, California and the university community to which it is home breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when the suspected perpetrator of three recent stabbings in the area – two of which were fatal – was arrested and charged with murder, as NBC News reports.

The alleged assailant has been identified as 21-year-old Carlos Dominguez, and reports indicate that he is a former student at the University of California Davis campus, who was “separated” from the institution "for academic reasons” just two days before the initial attack.

Attacks Leave Two Dead, One Critically Injured

The stabbings of which Dominguez now stands accused sent shockwaves through the small town that sits west of Sacramento and sparked a manhunt that yielded upwards of 500 tips from members of the community.

Killed in the attacks were a 50-year-old man named David Henry Breaux and 20-year-old UC Davis student Karim Abou-Najm.

A third victim suffered critical injuries, and to date, there is no sign that the suspect personally knew any of those he killed or injured.

Two of the three individuals allegedly harmed by Dominguez were reported to have been homeless, and all were said to have sustained “very significant” stab wounds.

Manhunt Leads to Arrest

The stabbing victim who survived the attack was able to provide police with a description of her assailant, and other witnesses also came forth with information about the suspect.

On Wednesday, police received upwards of 15 calls from people who claimed to have spotted someone matching that description inside the town's Sycamore Park.

As Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel explained, “One of the callers said, 'I'm following him right now,’ and was able to lead us to this person.”

Still clad in the same clothing described by the aforementioned victim and assorted witnesses, Dominguez was found to have been carrying a backpack that had a large, “hunting-style” knife inside of it.

Suspect Contained

Dominguez was initially taken into custody Wednesday over possession of the knife but was ultimately arrested on suspicion of homicide and attempted murder on Thursday.

According to the Daily Mail, he was subsequently booked into the Yolo County Jail pending further review of potential charges by the local district attorney.

Police have indicated that investigators are in possession of fiber as well as blood evidence in the case, noting that Dominguez sustained some injuries to his hands and arms during physical struggles with his victims.

Pytel also noted that Dominguez' post-arrest demeanor was “quite unusual in a circumstance like this,” adding that the suspect was “compliant during the entire process. He was reserved and spoke for a long time.”

Mixed Emotions Grip Town

Davis Mayor Will Arnold heralded the arrest of Dominguez following days of fear and uncertainty, saying, “The murderer is off the streets, and our families can sleep easier,” as the Mail noted.

Even so, many residents in the typically quiet community remain on edge, as the Sacramento Bee reports, with university student Isabella Pham, 20, now toting a taser wherever she goes.

“Me and the rest of my housemates made sure to get some protection, because you never know what's going to happen when you're outside the house,” Pham explained.

Security officer Wayne Davis concurred, saying, “I'm not letting my guard down. They got someone in custody, but they are not saying it's definitely the killer. And what if there is a copycat out there? This is definitely making me more aware.”