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A mail carrier was among 4 people killed in northern Illinois stabbings

By KATHLEEN FOODY, RICK CALLAHAN and COREY WILLIAMS, KATHLEEN FOODY, RICK CALLAHAN and COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press
Published: March 28, 2024, 7:55am

CHICAGO (AP) — A postal carrier was among four people killed when a man went on a stabbing rampage in a northern Illinois city, authorities said Thursday.

The attacks in Rockford on Wednesday also left seven people injured, and a 22-year-old suspect is in custody.

A 15-year-old girl, a 63-year-old woman, a 49-year-old man and a 22-year-old man were killed in the stabbings. Police said three of them died where they were attacked and a fourth died at a hospital. Authorities have not released the victims’ names, but the United States Postal Inspection Service, a division of the United States Postal Service, confirmed Thursday that a USPS letter carrier was among the dead.

“Postal inspectors are working with the Rockford Police Department in this investigation,” agency spokesperson Michael Martel said in an email.

Authorities have released little information about the suspect, who was arrested Wednesday by a Winnebago County sheriff’s deputy responding to a reported home invasion. A woman who identified herself as the suspect’s sister declined to comment to The Associated Press.

Resident Vanessa Hy, told WREX-TV in Rockford that she witnessed the arrest.

“All of the sudden, we heard police run up on both sides of the house screaming, ‘Stop! Get down!’” Hy told the TV station. “Then they ran into the backyard and after a few minutes we saw them bringing the suspect down the driveway in handcuffs and he was very bloody.”

Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd said she believes the suspect acted alone.

“We don’t believe there’s any other suspects that are on the run or at large at this particular time,” Redd said Wednesday. “Right now, we don’t have a clear motive as to what caused this individual to commit such a heinous crime.”

She said residents were being asked to review home surveillance footage for anything related to the attacks.

Redd said Rockford police received a medical call at 1:14 p.m. Wednesday followed by additional calls for police and paramedics. She said not all of the victims found at multiple addresses in the city had stab wounds and none was shot.

Rockford resident Cassandra Hernandez said her friend was among the victims, and that she mourns the loss of the mail carrier who neighbors believe was hit by a vehicle and stabbed during the attack.

“You never expect this here,” Hernandez told the Rockford Register Star. “Just to think that it happened here, and we have such great neighbors and the mailman.”

Redd said Wednesday that one of the injured was in critical condition. The Rockford Police Department and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office have not responded to messages left Thursday seeking updates on the surviving victims’ conditions.

Sheriff Gary Caruana said Wednesday that the suspect was with a woman when he was arrested, and that the suspect had attacked her and a bystander.

“The young lady ran from him,” Caruana said. “She got some stab wounds in her hands and her face. She is in serious condition. One of the good Samaritans stopped to help her out. He did get some stab wounds. He is being checked out.”

The violence in the city of about 150,000 people came just days days after a teenage employee was stabbed and killed inside a Walmart in Rockford, which is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Chicago.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara wrote on the city’s Facebook page that “multiple jurisdictions” were “working on multiple crime scenes to develop an understanding of what transpired in an effort to prevent this from happening again.”

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“Today, we are shocked by another horrific act of violence against innocent members of our community,” McNamara said. Now that the suspect is in custody, he continued, “Our primary concern is ensuring that our community members directly impacted by this violence are supported throughout their healing and recovery.”

The city of Rockford planned to hold a vigil Thursday afternoon for the victims hosted by local faith leaders, the city said.

Callahan reported from Indianapolis and Williams reported from Detroit. Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed from New York.

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