Assailant questions victims' faith in stabbing spree

DEADLY SPREE: A Colorado Springs man went on a 40-minute stabbing spree early Monday morning that wounded eight people around downtown and a series of trails near Interstate 25. Dreamstime/Tribune News Service

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With a blanket draped over his shoulders and a question for potential targets – “Do you love God?” – a Colorado Springs man went on a 40-minute stabbing spree early Monday morning that wounded eight people around downtown and a series of trails near Interstate 25.

“I didn’t know what to say,” said Terri Poore, 48, who said she stood terrified as the knife-wielding man quizzed her about her religious faith.

“I didn’t know if to say ‘Yes,’ and he was going to hurt me. Or ‘No,’ and he was going to hurt me.

“I’ve never been so traumatized in my life.”

Two people remained hospitalized Monday afternoon after the mile-and-a-half long rampage, which stretched from 8th Street and U.S. 24 on the city’s west side to the heart of downtown Colorado Springs.

None of the victims’ injuries were life-threatening, said Lt. Jim Sokolik, a police spokesman.

Colorado Springs police arrested a man in the attacks but did not release his name or any other information about him.

The rampage appeared to begin about 1:30 a.m., when officers were called to 8th Street and U.S. 24 for a stabbing and found two people wounded. Witnesses said the man ran toward America the Beautiful Park.

A half-mile away, Poore, who is homeless, said she was cooking ravioli with a candle beneath a bridge southwest of the park when a man draped in blanket appeared asking whether she loved God.

“He came from nowhere,” Poore said.

She did not answer. But when a man near her tried kicking the knife away, the assailant attacked – stabbing the man about 20 times, Poore said.

“He was just yelling ‘Stop, stop,’” Poore said.

Jonny Seaton, 20, said he tried to help the bloodied man, and at one point, Seaton also recalled being asked by the knife-wielding person whether he was a Christian.

Seaton said “yes,” but his fiancée replied “no,” and the man – wielding a partially serrated, 4- to 5-inch knife – attacked them, too.

At one point, Seaton recalled the assailant holding a knife to his neck. When Seaton tried to escape, the knife slashed open his ear, requiring 9 stitches and 3 staples to mend. His fiancee also tried to help.

“The blade was to my throat and she got up and charged him,” Seaton said.

The man slashed Seaton’s fiancee’s face, slicing from the top of her cheek to her chin.

“He had some super-human speed to him or something,” Seaton said.

At about 2:10 a.m., police received another call about more stabbing victims near Tejon and Boulder streets, police said. They arrived to find people who had just been stabbed, holding the assailant so that he couldn’t run.

Eight people were wounded in the attacks. Seven of them taken to UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central.

As of Monday afternoon, five of the victims had been released, said Cary Vogrin, a hospital spokeswoman. She could not provide their conditions.

According to archived police radio traffic on RadioReference.com, one of the stabbing victims was pregnant, though police could not confirm that detail.

Seaton said he recognized the assailant as someone who had also been living homeless.

The stabbing left homeless people living at the park rattled Monday afternoon.

Homeless for seven years, Poore said she routinely slept under the bridge where the attack happened – preferring to avoid shelters, amid concerns over illnesses there, and the inability to sleep with her husband whenever she’s there.

After Monday’s attack, she said she’d be staying in encampments with other homeless people, hoping for safety in numbers.

“This is traumatizing,” Poore said. “It’s always in the back of my mind that someone would attack me. It’s not as safe as it used to be, that’s for sure.”

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