UC Davis Stabbing Update: Police Arrest Former Student

Three stabbings near the UC Davis campus left two dead and one injured.
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Margaret Attridge is a news reporter for BestColleges focusing on higher education news stories in California. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2022 with a BA in journalism and government and politics....
Published on May 4, 2023
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  • Three stabbing incidents near the University of California, Davis campus have left two dead and one critically injured.
  • Former UC Davis student Carlos Dominguez, 21, was charged with two counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide.
  • Prior to the arrest, the university had increased security presence and other safety measures, including moving evening classes online.

Police on Thursday announced they had arrested a former University of California, Davis student suspected in a series of fatal stabbings near campus.

Carlos Dominguez, 21, was charged with two counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide. Dominguez was in his third year at UC Davis until April 25, when he was separated for academic reasons, according to school officials.

The Davis Police Department at a press conference said that Dominguez was arrested near the college campus with a large knife in his backpack after multiple calls from the community. That knife was consistent with evidence used in one of the stabbings, they said.

The arrest would appear to bring to a close a week of terror in the California college town.

The first fatal stabbing occurred on April 27. Police found 50-year-old David Henry Breaux, known to the UC Davis community as Compassion Guy, in Davis' Central Park, located half a mile from campus.

Two days later, UC Davis student Karim Abou Najm was fatally stabbed at Sycamore Park in Davis, approximately one mile from campus. According to UC Davis, Najm was six weeks away from graduating with a bachelor's in computer science with honors.

The third stabbing, which was not fatal, occurred early May 2. According to police, a woman was stabbed in an encampment for unhoused people about a mile from UC Davis' campus.

Prior to Arrest: A Week of Fear on UC Davis Campus

Prior to the police press conference, Brianna Herrera told BestColleges that her morning walk to class was tense and unsettling, as she and many other students at the University of California, Davis had to attend classes while the suspect was still at large.

I never even knew those words could describe such powerful feelings, but you just see it in everybody's faces now, the senior psychology and Chicano studies major said.

In response to the second stabbing, UC Davis on May 1 announced additional security on campus, hiring a private security firm called Members in Black Private Security, which had been used in the past for various on-campus events, including athletics.

Officers from other UC campuses, including UC San Francisco and Berkeley, were also brought in to patrol the campus and some of the immediate surrounding areas of Davis, according to UC Davis Police Chief Joe Farrow.

Additionally, the campus's Safe Rides service, which provides rides and walking escorts to staff, faculty, and students on campus after hours, expanded service starting May 1.

We're using all the resources that we have here combined with the city of Davis and really some of the allied agencies around Davis and Yolo County to put together the best effort that we can be able to identify and apprehend and ultimately arrest the individual responsible for these crimes, Farrow said in a May 2 press briefing.

However, Thursday morning before the arrest was announced, many students were not feeling encouraged by the school's enhanced safety measures.

I've heard of the services [but] realistically or honestly, it's nothing new that they haven't offered before, Herrera said. Obviously it's a start, like the Safe Rides services, but it feels like we had to kind of push them for those services. It feels like we kind of have had to speak up about that, and I feel like they just weren't listening to us and to our fears.

Shreya Kowtha, a senior cognitive science major, said that while Safe Rides services are beneficial to first-year students and those who live on campus, it doesn't help out students who live off campus as much.

I know that Safe Rides' services are really helpful to freshmen. But if you live off campus, they're not as useful because they go to and from campus. And the increased security measures, if I'm being candid, I personally haven't really seen that on campus or anywhere, she said.

Students Were Afraid To Go to Class

On May 2, after the third stabbing, UC Chancellor Gary S. May announced that there would be emergency remote instruction for all courses ending after 6 p.m. and encouraged those organizing evening events to consider going remote or rescheduling. However, all daytime classes continued as normal, and the midterms scheduled were not postponed.

Kowtha said she appreciated the move to remote learning at night but wanted to see more action from the university to protect students.

I do appreciate campus and academic senate voting to move to online learning after 6 pm. But, their refusal and reluctance to give the option for hybrid learning during the day [was not] fair because I think that a lot of students are just nervous to be on campus, she said.

She posted a TikTok about her experience being required to attend class on May 2 with the caption having to go to classes because UC Davis doesn't make classes remote after 3 stabbings.

@briannaacg couldn't even focus in class, I shouldn't have to worry about picking my grades or my safety. there wasnt even police visible on campus. i pray my peers are safe, and for the 3 victims. #fyp #ucdavis #greenscreen ♬ je te laisserai des mots - favsoundds

The video garnered over 1 million views and 174,000 likes, with the comments section filled with other UC Davis students voicing their hesitation about attending classes due to the recent attacks.

However, some accused students of taking advantage of the situation.

I've seen a few comments on my TikTok that I posted like Oh great excuse to get out of class. That's not at all the point, Herrera said. I could care less, and I know many other students could care less about grades right now. We're in a lot of fear. We're not asking for class to be canceled; we're just asking for them to be remote.

Just a Strange Feeling

While students on campus locked and bolted their doors and listened to police scanners at night, Kowtha said she changed her routine of going outside at sunset and walking to friends' apartments at night before the suspect was apprehended.

I just think that this is a really strange situation for students and Davis to be experiencing, she said. This isn't something that residents are accustomed to, or Davis students are accustomed to. I know a lot of students have bought, like, handheld stun guns or pepper spray, and it's just a strange feeling to have in this town because it's just not something that I think we've ever had to worry about before.

Herrera said she grew up close to campus and would frequently walk around town at night before this past week.

Davis was a very safe community, or at least it felt like it, she explained. It hits so close to home because I grew up 10 minutes away. So it was always very safe. I have been at parks at night alone when I need like a mental break from school, and I felt safe. [Now] I'm like, wow, that could have been one of us.