A man has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbings of two people and the wounding of three others at a church in Silicon Valley that was being used as a homeless shelter, police in San Jose, California said.
“We have one suspect in custody for last night’s homicide,” San Jose Police Department said in a Twitter post.
The stabbings happened at Grace Baptist Church. No services were being held at the time of the attack, which was reported at 7:54 p.m. local time, the authorities said.
Each victim had at least one stab wound, the police said. A man was pronounced dead at the scene and a woman later died at the hospital. Three other victims, all men, were hospitalised in serious condition, the authorities said.
The church, through its non-profit Grace Solutions, offers an overnight winter shelter to up to 50 men and women during cold, rainy weather and makes showers available daily for drop-in visits to those who may need them, according to the website. The program usually runs from January to April but was extended this year to help people during the coronavirus pandemic, the website said.
“Unhoused individuals were brought into the church to get them out of the cold,” the police department tweeted.
The motive of the attack is under investigation, police said.
“Unhoused individuals were brought into the church to get them out of the cold,” the San Jose police department tweeted. The temperature in San Jose was in the low 50s when the attack happened Sunday shortly before 8 p.m., but dropped into the high 30s overnight.
“Our hearts are torn for the victims and their loved ones in last night’s horrific stabbing at Grace Baptist Church in Downtown – we have lost two community members,” San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo said on social media. “We pray for the recovery of others seriously injured in that attack.”
The victims were not identified and police said the names of those who died will be released by Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office after their families are notified.