SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – A suspect was arrested in connection with the fatal stitches of two people and the wounding of three others in a church in California’s Silicon Valley used as a shelter for the homeless, police said Monday.
“We have a suspect in custody for last night’s murder,” the San Jose Police Department said in a Twitter post.
The knife wounds occurred Sunday night at Grace Baptist Church, where services were not held, and officials said a man died there and a woman died in a hospital. Three other wounded men were hospitalized on Monday in severe but stable condition.
The church, through its charitable Grace Solutions, provides overnight winter accommodation for up to 50 men and women in cold, rainy weather, and provides daily showers for visits they may need, according to the charity’s website.
“People who were not housed were taken to church to get them out of the cold,” the San Jose Police Department tweeted.
The temperature in San Jose was in the low 50s when the attack hit just before 8 p.m. on Sunday, but dropped into the high 30s overnight.
SJPD investigates murder # 39 https://t.co/NhLIRzq4fV
– San Jose Police Department (@SJPD_PIO) media outreach on November 23, 2020
The city of 1 million people, like the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area, has seen a recent surge in the number of homeless people. At the last San Jose homeless census in 2019, officials counted 6,097 homeless people – up from 4,350 in 2017.
The motive of the attack has been investigated, police said. Grace Baptist Church did not immediately respond to a phone message Monday for comment.
“Our hearts are torn for the victims and their loved ones in the horrific knife stab at Grace Baptist Church downtown last night – we lost two parishioners,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said on social media. “We pray for the recovery of others who were seriously injured in this attack.”
The victims were not identified and police said the names of the deceased will be released by the Santa Clara County Coroner Office after their families are notified.
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