UPDATE: The 3-year-old girl who was stabbed along with guests at her own birthday party on Saturday has died from her wounds, according to KBOI News. The toddler was identified as Ruya Kadir, a refugee from Ethiopia.
A statement from the International Rescue Committee, which is supporting the affected families, reads in part:
"Our caseworkers describe Ruya as a child who always sparkled when she walked into a room. She was her mother’s princess, always the center of attention, and loved pink and Disney princesses. She had just turned three years old Saturday, and according to our IRC colleagues in Boise, was the epitome of sweetness."
A stabbing spree at a 3-year-old's birthday party on Saturday night has left the Boise, Idaho, community shaken. The apartment complex home where the attack happened, Wylie Street Station Apartments, is home to many refugees and families with children who fled violence in their homelands.
But violence once again found them this weekend in what should have been a joyous celebration. Nine people were injured, including the birthday girl and five other children ages 4 to 12. Three adults who tried to intervene were also injured. Of the victims, who were from Ethiopia, Iraq and Syria, four received life-threatening injuries, the New York Times reports.
Police say the man, identified as 30-year-old Timmy Kinner from Los Angeles who was armed with a knife, was asked to leave the apartment complex the day before after residents had become concerned about his disruptive behavior. Kinner isn't a renter or refugee. A resident had allowed Kinner to stay at her apartment for a few days after he said he needed a place to stay.
At around 8:45 p.m. the following day, Kinner returned to the apartment where he was staying to exact vengeance but found no one home.
Tragically, he then targeted the birthday party just a few doors down, held outdoors in an area that was accessible to the public. The attack resulted in the most victims in a single act in Boise Police Department history.
"It was very violent and very frightening, and there’s a whole lot of trauma and hurt right now," Julianne Donnelly Tzul, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Boise, which is working with families affected by the stabbing, told the New York Times.
When he came home from the mall, 21-year-old Saad Mahamoud saw a woman screaming and carrying a small child who appeared to be stabbed and rushed her to the hospital. Mahamoud's 11-year-old brother witnessed the stabbing of children from an apartment window.
Another witness, 12-year-old Esrom Habte, also told CBS that he saw a man "stabbing a grown-up really hard" while saying "bad words."
"This isn't something that gets over in the days or weeks that follow. The level of some of the injuries will be life-altering in a very negative way," Boise Police Chief William L. Bones said. "The crime scene, the faces of the parents struggling, the tears coming down their faces, the faces of the children in their hospital beds will be something that I carry with me for the rest of my life, as will every first responder that night."
Chalk messages, including "You are valued!" and "United we stand," were written outside the building. Many also offered messages of support online.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.