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Davis, California

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Davis Police Department holds press conference to discuss recent stabbings

Following the third stabbing this week, police discuss ongoing investigation 


By CHRIS PONCE city@theaggie.org


Earlier today, at 11:00 a.m., Davis police, alongside Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, city officials and representatives from the District Attorney’s Office held a press conference to discuss the ongoing investigations into three stabbings, including two fatal ones, that have occurred in the past five days in Davis.

Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said that police are currently receiving hundreds of tips regarding the crimes. Pytel noted that police have ongoing investigations into each stabbing incident and said that while the description of the suspect is “substantially” similar in the second and third crimes, police are still trying to determine if the crimes are related.

“We’re still trying to determine if the first homicide is related to the second homicide and whether these are related to the stabbing from last night,” Pytel said. “The similarities of the two homicides are that both involved male victims that occurred at Davis parks. The attacks with knives were particularly brutal and violent. These were not stabbings where a person would normally be a victim of like a robbery or something like that, where there’s just a couple of wounds. There were many, and very significant knife wounds. The attack last night had far fewer knife wounds, but still similar in the description provided.”

Police are asking that residents provide any video footage they may have of anyone that matches the description of the suspect. They also said that students and residents of Davis should remain vigilant.

Pytel also said that he’s been in communication with the Yolo County sheriff and police chiefs from neighboring jurisdictions, and all have been offering support since the first homicide. There will continue to be extra police patrols in the Davis area until further notice. There has also been increased federal support, as Pytel shared that while police have been in contact with the FBI for the last few days, they arrived in Davis today. Pytel shared that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has also been assisting with the case, and police have submitted “physical evidence” to the DOJ crime lab — Pytel is expecting to hear about the preliminary evidence today or tomorrow. 

The stabbing that occurred last night happened at a homeless encampment near 2nd and L Streets. Pytel said the victim currently remains in critical condition. 

Pytel also said that there was an interaction between the suspect last night and several witnesses at the encampment and that many were able to provide descriptions of the suspect. He said that the interaction “happened over a period of time before the stabbing occurred.”

He added that there was drone assistance, but due to weather conditions, it could not be utilized the whole time. Pytel mentioned the concern regarding the lack of air support at the crime last night.

“A helicopter was not airborne and even though we made several requests, there were no helicopters up last night to assist us,” Pytel said. 

In response to the ongoing incidents, the police department has moved all patrol forces into 12-hour shifts. Police are working to have a strong and visible presence to support residents for the time being, and UC Davis Police are doing the same to aid the investigation. 

Pytel also addressed questions about a curfew in Davis, saying that at this time, residents should use their best judgment when going outside.

“Well, we’ve had three stabbings, two homicides and they’ve occurred over the last couple of days,” Pytel said. “That’s, to my knowledge, never occurred in Davis. […] Be completely aware of your surroundings, to know who may be present or watching. […] People should have a buddy system right now, I think that’s an appropriate and reasonable response. […] People should prioritize their own personal safety.” 


Written By: Chris Ponce — city@theaggie.org