A 3-year-old refugee girl attacked at her birthday party by a knife-wielding man, who stabbed five other children and three adults in Boise, Idaho, has died from her injuries, police said Monday.
The girl, whose name has not been released, died at a trauma center in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she was flown for treatment.
“It is with deep sorrow we share the news that she has passed away today,” Boise police said in a statement.
The suspect, Timothy Kinner, 30, was arrested and charged with nine counts of aggravated battery, and six counts of injury to a child.
Word of the girl’s death came as Kinner was being arraigned in Ada County Court in Boise on Monday afternoon. A judge informed him that the charges had been amended and that he’s now facing one count of first-degree murder.
Kinner was brought into the courtroom handcuffed and in a wheelchair for security reasons, officials said. He reportedly threatened Ada County Jail staff when he was booked, officials said.
When asked by a judge if he understood the charges against him, Kinner replied, “No. No, sir,” according to ABC affiliate KIVI-TV in Boise.
“What don’t you understand?” a judge asked him.
Kinner responded, “I don’t understand none of this, sir.”
After the judge reread the charges, Kinner asked if he could represent himself. His request was denied and a public defender was assigned to his case.
He was ordered to remain in jail without bail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 16.
Seven of the other eight victims remain in the hospital, many with serious or critical injuries, police said. One child was treated and released.
The suspect’s motive was “vengeance” for being asked to leave an apartment in the complex due to his behavior, Boise Police Chief Bill Bones said during an emotional news conference Sunday afternoon.
Bones said Kinner is from Los Angeles and had been invited to stay for a few days at the apartment of a renter who had shown him compassion. But due to his disruptive behavior, Kinner was asked to leave the apartment at the Wylie Street Station complex on Friday, the chief said.
The stabbing spree unfolded around 8:46 p.m. Saturday when Kinner returned to the apartment where he had been a guest and found nobody home, Bones said.
Kinner, according to Bones, went a few doors down to where the party was going on and allegedly stormed the apartment, stabbing the 3-year-old girl whose birthday was being celebrated with a folding knife before attacking the other children and adults.
The other wounded children ranged in age from 4 to 12, Bones said.
The chief said the victims were all refugees from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia who had escaped violence in their homelands only to be confronted with it in America. The victims were placed in Boise as part of former President Barack Obama’s refugee resettlement program of 2012.
Kinner is not a refuge, Bones said.
He said Kinner has an extensive criminal record spanning multiple states and has spent time in prison for offenses that include “violence against others.”
The International Rescue Committee, which helped place the refugees in Boise, issued a statement saying it is working with local partners in Boise to provide counseling and support to refugees and other members of the community “shaken by this incident.”
“We are shocked and saddened by this senseless attack on members of the Boise refugee community,” IRC Executive Director Julianne D. Tzul said in the statement.
The Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp., which manages the Wylie Street Station apartment complex, also issued a statement, saying, “Our hearts go out to our families over this tragic and senseless crime committed against innocent children and families.”