Boise, ID – Police have identified the three-year-old girl who was stabbed to death by a knife-wielding man at her birthday party in a refugee apartment complex on Saturday night.
Police said that 30-year-old Timmy Kinner rushed into Ruya Kadir’s party at the Wylie Street Apartments and began attacking children, starting with the birthday girl. Ruya and her mother were both refugees from Ethiopia.
Six children were injured in the attack, and three adults who jumped in front of Kinner to try and protect the children were also stabbed, CNN reported. Of the other five children stabbed, there were two four year olds, a six year old, an eight year old and a 12 year old.
The Kansas City Star reported that all nine of the victims were members of refugee families who were seeking asylum from counties including Iraq, Syria and Ethiopia.
The incident began at about 6:45 p.m. on June 30 when police received a call for man with a knife at the apartments.
Officers responded to the scene in under four minutes, but the suspect had already fled on foot, he said.
The suspect was located “almost immediately,” according to Boise Police Chief William Bones, and officers took Kinner into custody at gunpoint.
Officers searched the apartment complex and found nine victims in apartments and in the parking lot, Chief Bones said.
Police said four of the victims had sustained “life-threatening injuries,” according to KIDK. All of the victims were transported to the hospital for emergency care.
One of the children injured was flown 200 miles to a Utah hospital for emergency treatment, according to Newsweek. Refugee groups paid for the family to be flown to the hospital so they could be with the child.
Police said the other eight victims were expected to survive.
The Idaho Statesman reported that Kinner, who is not a refugee, had been staying at the Wylie Street Apartments temporarily, as a guess of a resident, and that Boise police said he had been asked to vacate the building on Friday because of his behavior.
Kinner didn’t appear to know the victims, but police believe he may have gone on his stabbing spree in reaction to having been evicted the day before.
“Due to his behavior, he had been asked to leave,” Chief Bones said at a news conference Sunday according to Newsweek. “He returned last night to exact vengeance, not just on those who he had been with – as they were not at the apartment – but any target that was available.”
“This was an attack against those who are most vulnerable: our children,” Chief Bones told reporters. “It’s untenable, unconscionable and it’s pure evil in my mind.”
Chief Bones said Kinner had previously served time in prison for violent crimes and substance abuse.
A candlelit vigil was held Monday evening and 1,500 people attended, according to the Kansas City Star. Many of those who attended carried signs that showed support for the refugee community, according to the Kansas City Star.
The chief made a point to say that the attack had not been “not a symbol or a representation of our community in Boise, but it’s a single evil individual who attacked people with no provocation that we are aware of.”
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter echoed the chief’s sentiments in a tweet early Sunday morning.
The chief said the entire community had been affected, and pointed out that the incident had been the largest mass attack in the history of the city.
“We haven’t had anything involving this amount of victims in a single attack in Boise in the history of the department,” Chief Bones said as he described the scene during a press conference, NPR reported.