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Deadly church stabbing horrifies the community. Grace Baptist Church stabbing leaves two people dead, and three others in serious condition. The tragic event occurred on Sunday at a church in San Jose, Cali. According to the website, Grace is a downtown church that serves a very eclectic group of people including college students, the homeless, the mental health population, families with young children, and the LGBTQ community, and the elderly.
The San Jose Police Department (SJPD) reported that at approximately 7:54 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to a report of a stabbing at the church located 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.
Currently, three male victims currently remain hospitalized in serious condition in what the city’s mayor, Sam Liccardo, has called a horrific tragedy. In a statement, he added:
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.
This deadly church attack has horrified the San Jose community. At the time of the stabbing, religious services were not in session; the building was being used as a homeless shelter. Rev. David Robinson, the pastor where the attack took place, said on Monday that the victims and the suspect were among a group of homeless people who had been sheltering there. 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 at the church 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 half lowed to stay overnight and receive a hot dinner, breakfast, boxed lunch, and a shower.
Robinson expressed concern that the attack would make people more reluctant to use the church’s services, but that his goal was to find a way to reopen. He said:
This kind of violence re-traumatizes people. I never thought that this would be part of the deal, but things go sideways and we can’t let that dissuade us. We’ll figure out a way to deal with this. We stand in solidarity with them.
The deadly church stabbing has horrified this community. Grace Baptist Church is a beacon in the community for homeless and displaced victims. San Jose’s homeless population has increased by 42 percent to 6,172, according to January’s 2020 homeless census, mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and taken every two years.
For every individual placed into housing, three more enter into homelessness. The impact of the burgeoning homeless population is especially felt in the downtown area, where individuals squat, sleep unsheltered, and often wind up when their encampments are shut down.
An investigation into the stabbing remains ongoing with a male suspect already in police custody. A suspect is an adult man, and police said the motive and circumstances of the incident are under investigation. Although horrified by this tragic incident, Grace Baptist Church will continue to help those in need.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
NY Times: Suspect Is Arrested in San Jose Church Stabbing
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness: California Homelessness Statistics
Grace Solutions: Our Story
Top Image Courtesy of Facebook – Grace Baptist Church
Inline Image Courtesy of Art Tower’s Pixabay Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of William Klos’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License