Two people are now dead and three others left injured after a stabbing at Grace Baptist Church in San Jose, California, that the city’s mayor has called “horrific.”
“Our hearts are torn for the victims and their loved ones in last night’s horrific stabbing at Grace Baptist Church on 10th Street. We have lost two community members, and we pray for the recovery of the three others seriously injured in that attack. SJPD has arrested a suspect, who remains in custody. We will keep the community updated as SJPD releases more information,” San José Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a press statement Monday.
The San Jose Police Department reported that at approximately 7:54 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to a report of a stabbing at the Grace Baptist Church on the 400 block of East San Fernando Street.
When they arrived, they found five victims suffering from at least one stab wound each. An adult male victim was pronounced dead at the scene while an adult female succumbed to her injuries at a local hospital.
Three male victims currently remain hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
An investigation into the stabbing remains ongoing with a male suspect already in police custody. The identity of the dead victims were being confirmed by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office and was not immediately available.
Religious services were not in session at the time of the stabbing, police say, but the building was being used as a homeless shelter.
According to its website, Grace Baptist Church runs a faith-based winter program in the gymnasium and basement of the church for “the forgotten and vulnerable.”
The program, which normally runs from January through April to provide temporary emergency shelter for up to 50 men and women, totaling over 250 individuals annually, was extended this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guests are allowed to stay overnight and receive a hot dinner, breakfast, boxed lunch and a shower.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced a $200 million boost to his Project Homekey homeless housing fund in San Jose while acknowledging the challenges his administration faces with the state’s homelessness crisis.
“We see what’s happened to the state as it relates to the issue of homelessness. We recognize our responsibility to do more,” he said last month. “I want folks to know that we’re not going to walk away from this. We have people now doing things in a way that they’ve never done before, and we’re producing results in a way we haven’t seen before either.”
As of January 2019, California had an estimated 151,278 people experiencing homelessness on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of that Total, 7,044 were family households, 10,980 were veterans, 11,993 were unaccompanied young adults aged 18-24, and 41,557 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.