HomeTop Headlines4 Dead and Several Injured in Wild Stabbing Rampage

4 Dead and Several Injured in Wild Stabbing Rampage

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A deadly stabbing spree in Rockford, Illinois, on March 27, 2024, claimed the lives of four individuals and injured seven others.

The deceased were identified by the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office as Jenna Newcomb, 15, Jacob Schupbach, 23, who was the childhood friend of the suspect, Jay Larson, 49, and Ramona Schupbach, 63, the mother of Jacob.

Law enforcement agencies apprehended the suspect, 22-year-old Christian Soto, at 1:35 pm, shortly after responding to calls from several locations starting around 1:14 pm.

The multiple-location attack occurred predominantly on Cleveland Avenue, Holmes Street, and Eggleston Road, in the vicinity of Alpine Road and Harrison Avenue in Rockford.

Soto, who is currently in custody, is facing various charges including murder and home invasion. J. Hanley, the State Attorney for Winnebago County, suggested that additional charges are anticipated following a grand jury review of the case.

According to investigators, Soto admitted to the killings, attributing his violent actions to the use of cannabis laced with an unknown substance while at Jacob’s house. “Soto became extremely paranoid following his drug use,” Hanley said. He revealed that Soto took a knife from Jacob’s kitchen and fatally stabbed Jacob and Ramona. Soto continued his violent spree, breaking into multiple homes and attacking three teenage girls with a bat, killing Jenna Newcomb, who was trying to protect her sister. His arrest followed the stabbing of his final two victims, who sustained serious injuries. Soto was apprehended while a young woman, who was seriously injured in the face and hands, was attempting to escape. A Good Samaritan who tried to intervene was also stabbed.

Eric Patterson, a resident of Cleveland Avenue, witnessed the aftermath of the incident. He described a scene with two injured teenagers and a middle-aged woman receiving emergency medical attention. Patterson also reported signs of a violent confrontation involving a mail carrier, Jay Larson, whose belongings were scattered across a lawn, suggesting a potential vehicular and subsequent physical assault. A witness described him being stabbed multiple times by Soto and then run over.

Patterson stated, “It’s incomprehensible. It’s akin to navigating a video game, yet this is real life. It defies logic. It’s reminiscent of games like Grand Theft Auto, where one might run over a mailman here, stab individuals there, or invade a house elsewhere. But this reality doesn’t make sense. There’s no rationalizing it.”

The United States Postal Service confirmed that a mail carrier was among the victims of this tragic incident.

As part of the investigation, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and the Rockford Police Department cordoned off the area with yellow police tape, conducting a thorough search for evidence and eyewitness testimonies.

Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana acknowledged a bystander who attempted to detain Soto as he fled from the initial crime scene and ended up being stabbed. “He’s alright. He’s been thoroughly examined.” Caruana confirmed.

A resident of Cleveland Avenue, Cassandra Hernandez, expressed her shock over the incident and extended her sympathy to Larson, the mail carrier, disclosing that she was friends with one of the victims. “You never anticipate something like this happening here. Just yesterday morning, I was walking my dog in this area… It’s devastating to think it happened with our wonderful neighbors and the mail carrier in our neighborhood. I fear he’s no longer with us; he was such a wonderful man. It’s truly heartbreaking.”

Ruth Gallagher, another neighbor, spoke highly of the mail carrier, characterizing him as extremely kind and always ready to assist. Expressing deep sorrow over his demise, Gallagher said, ‘We will greatly miss him.’

Carla Redd, Rockford Police Chief, clarified that not all victims had been stabbed and no gunfire was involved in the incident. Redd requested community cooperation, asking residents to review their home security and doorbell camera footage to aid the investigation.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara expressed deep sorrow over the incident, acknowledging the emotional toll on the community and describing the past week as one of the most challenging during his tenure. In his statement, the mayor noted, “It’s hard to grasp how this could happen and how emotional and raw the community is tonight. Let’s lift each other up and be strong together.”

A vigil was held for the victims on the afternoon of March 28, according to a Facebook post from the City of Rockford Government.

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