A man armed with a knife attacked children attending a 3-year-old’s birthday party at an apartment complex in Idaho on Saturday night, going on a stabbing rampage that wounded nine people, including six children, the police said.
The man, identified as Timmy Earl Kinner, 30, returned to the complex, the Wylie Street Station Apartments, a day after he was asked to leave the property because of his behavior, William L. Bones, the police chief in Boise, Idaho, said at a news conference on Sunday.
Mr. Kinner began attacking the children with a knife around 8:45 p.m., said Chief Bones, who was visibly emotional as he described a scene of victims scattered across the apartment complex, in the street and on the walkway.
Among the victims, he said, were the 3-year-old who was celebrating her birthday, two 4-year-olds, a 6-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old. The three other victims were adults who tried to intervene. Four victims received life-threatening injuries.
“This was an attack against those who are most vulnerable, our children,” Chief Bones said. “It’s untenable, unconscionable. It’s pure evil in my mind.”
The birthday party, which was complete with cake and decorations, was held outdoors in an area that was accessible to the public, the police said. On Sunday, remnants of blue and red balloons could be seen in a grassy area of the complex.
The apartments are home to a diverse community, including refugees and families with children. The stabbing victims were from Ethiopia, Iraq and Syria, the police said. Chief Bones said there was no evidence that the attack was a hate crime.
The refugee community at the complex reacted with fear and horror, said Julianne Donnelly Tzul, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Boise, a humanitarian organization that was working with families who had been affected by the stabbing. “It was very violent and very frightening and there’s a whole lot of trauma and hurt right now,” she said.
Mr. Kinner, of Los Angeles, was charged with multiple felony counts of battery and injury to a child. Mr. Kinner has not cooperated with the authorities, officials said.
He has an extensive criminal history spanning multiple states, including a prison sentence in Kentucky, Chief Bones said.
Court records show that a Timmy Kinner born in 1988 has faced multiple charges in Tennessee in recent years, and since 2012 has been convicted of assault, aggravated assault, a weapon offense and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
He had been in Idaho a short time, the police said. A resident of the apartment complex had allowed Mr. Kinner to stay at her apartment after he said he needed a place to go, Chief Bones said.
But he said that Mr. Kinner was asked to leave on Friday, after residents became concerned about his behavior. It was not immediately clear what happened before he was asked to leave.
Mr. Kinner left peacefully, but returned to the complex on Saturday night for vengeance, Chief Bones said, “not just on those that he had been with, as they were not at the apartment, but at any target which was available.” The birthday party was “just a few doors down” from where Mr. Kinner had stayed, he added.
The police said Mr. Kinner initially targeted the children, before adults tried to intervene.
Saad Mahamoud, 21, said he was coming home from a shopping mall when he pulled into the apartment complex and saw a woman screaming, carrying a small child who appeared to have been stabbed. He said he put the girl in his car and raced her to the hospital.
“I was going about 70 miles an hour and running through lights,” Mr. Mahamoud said.
He said his 11-year-old brother had witnessed the stabbing from an apartment window. “He saw it all,” Mr. Mahamoud said. “Just this guy grabbing the little kid and stabbing him with a knife then putting him down on the ground then hitting another kid with the knife.”
Chief Bones told The Idaho Statesman, “We haven’t had anything involving this amount of victims in a single act in Boise in the history of the department.”
The International Rescue Committee in Boise said in a statement that it was working with local organizations to provide counseling and support to refugees and community members shaken by the attack. The organization helped fund travel for an interpreter and one child’s parent to Salt Lake City, where the child was flown for medical care.
Ms. Tzul said that her organization was also helping some families find a new place to live. “A number of the families don’t want to live in that complex ever again,” she said.
By Sunday evening, children were again running through the complex and playing. Messages of support had been written in chalk outside. One read, “You are valued!” Another said, “United we stand.”
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