A string of three stabbings, two of which were fatal, at the University of California (UC), Davis left the community on edge. The first stabbing occurred on Apr. 27, when the attacker targeted a homeless man, David Henry Breaux. The second came two days later near Sycamore Park, where a resident discovered 20-year-old student Karim Abou-Najm with multiple stab wounds. The third stabbing occurred on May 1, involving a homeless woman who had also been severely wounded. Of three victims, she was the only one to survive after undergoing surgery. These attacks led the community to put a lockdown in place in which students seldom wandered the streets and youth activities came to a halt. All classes after 6 PM switched to remote learning.
Officials detained the stabber, identified as Carlos Dominguez, on May 3 and arrested him the next day on two accounts of homicide and one account of attempted murder. Yolo Superior Court arraigned him on May 5, and he pleaded not guilty. In a statement from the district attorney’s office, Dominguez could potentially face life without parole or a death sentence if he is found guilty due to amendments to his case for committing multiple murders and causing severe bodily harm. Prosecutors noted that “the decision regarding whether to pursue the death penalty will be made at a later date.”
Dominguez was a former student at UC Davis, majoring in biological sciences, and was in his third year of attendance before the school dropped him from enrollment for unspecified academic reasons. His father, who asked not to be named, told the Los Angeles Times when asked about his son’s academics, “This is inexplicable to me. He was so excited to go to Davis. I don’t understand how this could happen.” According to his father, Dominguez was an accomplished student and athlete during his years at Castlemont High School in Oakland. He was known as a loving brother, son, and student who got along well with his high school teachers.
Police were able to locate and apprehend Dominguez largely due to the influx of tips from Davis locals. After law enforcement released a suspect description, around 15 people called the police to report someone who matched the criteria. According to Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel, one of the tipsters followed him and led the police right to him, where they then found a large hunting knife that matched evidence from the first stabbing incident. Because of this discovery, they were able to arrest Dominquez.