4 dead and 5 wounded in Illinois stabbing rampage; 22-year-old suspect in custody

Four people were killed and five others were wounded in and near Rockford, Illinois, on Wednesday in what the city’s mayor called a “random and senseless act of violence.”

Some of the victims, including a woman who fled a home invasion in Winnebago County and a man who tried to help her, were stabbed, officials said.

A suspect, a 22-year-old man, has been taken into custody, and police are not looking for anyone else involved in the violence at “multiple scenes” in Rockford and an area of the county shortly after 1 p.m., authorities said.

“Words can’t even express my thoughts right now,” Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd told reporters. She said the suspect committed “heinous crimes.”

One person was injured and in critical condition, and four others were stable after a man “attacked and stabbed multiple individuals,” the police department said on X.

The dead have not been identified. They are a 15-year-old girl, a 63-year-old woman, a 49-year-old man and a 22-year-old man, police said.

The causes of death and injury for all victims were not clear. Not all of the victims were stabbed, Redd said, and none were shot.

A report came into Rockford’s dispatch center at 1:14 p.m. about a medical call, Redd said, and other calls followed asking for police help.

In a neighborhood in the Rockford area that is part of Winnebago County, there was a home invasion and a woman fled but was stabbed in the hands and face, Sheriff Gary Caruana said.

She was taken to a hospital with serious injuries and has been intubated, he said. A man who intervened to help her suffered stab wounds, but “he’s fine” and being evaluated, Caruana said.

A sheriff’s deputy took the suspect into custody, Caruana said. NBC Chicago, citing Rockford officials, identified the suspect as Christian Soto. He is expected to make his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the news station.

One of the victims was a mail carrier, Caruana said, without providing further details. The Postal Inspection Service said the victim was a letter carrier but released no other details, citing an active investigation.

Both law enforcement agencies are investigating and trying to piece together what happened. Redd asked residents to check security cameras or doorbell cameras for any video that might help investigators.

“Right now, we don’t have a clear motive in regards to what caused this individual to commit such heinous crimes,” Redd said.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara and other officials said their thoughts were with the victims and their families. The mayor said he was “just totally shaken by this act of violence and the impact that it’s having now on multiple families’ lives.”

“My prayers are with them as they’re just beginning to deal with what will be really difficult days and weeks ahead,” McNamara said.

Federal law enforcement officials are assisting in the investigation, police said.

The city announced emotional support and counseling services would be available at Flinn Middle School on Thursday and Friday.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he was monitoring the situation and offered any support needed to Rockford’s mayor.

“As we await more information, our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims,” Pritzker said on X.

Rockford is a city of around 150,000 about 60 miles northwest of Chicago.

CORRECTION (March 28, 2024, 8:35 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the day of the attacks. They occurred Wednesday, not Tuesday.

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