California (AP) (11/24/20)— A suspect has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbings of two people and the wounding of three others at a church in California’s Silicon Valley that was being used as a homeless shelter, police said Monday.
“We have one suspect in custody for last night’s homicide,” the San Jose Police Department said in a Twitter post.
The stabbings happened Sunday night at Grace Baptist Church, where no services were taking place, and officials said a man died there and a woman died at a hospital. Three other men who were wounded were hospitalized Monday in serious but stable condition.
The church, through its nonprofit Grace Solutions, offers an overnight winter shelter to up to 50 men and women during cold, rainy weather and it makes showers available daily for drop-in visits to those who may need them, according to the nonprofit’s website.
“Unhoused individuals were brought into the 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 happened Sunday shortly before 8 p.m., but dropped into the high 30s overnight.
The city of 1 million, like the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area, has experienced a recent rise in homeless people. In San Jose’s latest homeless census conducted in 2019, officials counted 6,097 homeless people — up from 4,350 in 2017.
The motive of the attack was under investigation, police said. Grace Baptist Church did not immediately respond to a telephone message Monday seeking comment.
“Our hearts are torn for the victims and their loved ones in last night’s horrific stabbing at Grace Baptist Church in Downtown — we have lost two community members,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said on social media. “We pray for the recovery of others seriously injured in that attack.”
The victims were not identified and police said the names of those who died will be released by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office after their families are notified.