UPDATE, Monday, July 2, 5:05 p.m. Eastern Time: Police said Monday that a 3-year-old girl injured in the attack had died of her wounds. The mass stabbing took place at a children’s birthday party. All of the victims are from Syria, Iraq or Ethiopia, and several are refugees.
“It is with deep sorrow we share the news that she has passed away today,” Boise Police Department officials stated, referring to the child, who had been flown to a hospital in Utah for treatment. “We will not be releasing her name until additional notifications have been made.”
Police also announced that, of the eight other victims, one child had been treated and released from the hospital. The other seven victims remained in the hospital with “serious or critical injuries.”
The suspected attacker, who was initially charged with nine counts of aggravated battery and six counts of injury to a child, has since been charged with one additional count of first-degree murder.
EARLIER: Nine people, including six children, were injured after a man went on a stabbing rampage at an apartment complex housing refugee families Saturday night, police in Boise, Idaho said.
Authorities responded to a call about a man with a knife at around 8:46 local time. Police say they arrested the suspect, a 30-year-old man just before 9 p.m., and are interviewing him to determine a motive. The man, a temporary resident at the complex, had been asked to leave the premises Friday. Police released no additional details, except to say that the suspect was not a refugee.
Victims of the attack were found both inside the apartments and in the parking lot outside, local media reported. Several refugees were among those wounded, and authorities said some victims sustained life-threatening injuries.
“As you can imagine the witnesses in the apartment complex along with the rest of our community are reeling from this attack. This incident is not a representation of our community but a single evil individual who attacked people without provocation that we are aware of at this time,” Police Chief William Bones said in a statement.
“You can imagine this is a very tight-knit community here in this apartment complex,” he added. “The attack had a devastating effect on the people. We’re doing everything we can tonight to get them services, to get them through this evening and we’ll be working with them in the days and weeks that follow.”
Nine people were injured – some seriously – in a seemingly unprovoked violent stabbing spree in Boise, Idaho Saturday night. The suspect is in custody. https://t.co/2XMTqh3ULw pic.twitter.com/K1TH1G0OIP
— ABC News (@ABC) July 1, 2018
Authorities say the attack is unprecedented for the region. “We haven’t had anything involving this amount of victims in a single attack in Boise in the history of the department,” Bones said. “Obviously it’s something you hope never comes to your city.”
Hate crimes and attacks against refugees and immigrants, as well as other protected groups, have risen in recent years. According to the FBI, in 2016 alone, there were 6,121 “criminal incidents” and 7,321 related offenses “motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity,” up from 5,818 criminal incidents in 2015.
Individual attacks against immigrants held in detention facilities have also made headlines, with several reports claiming widespread abuse — by both staff and other detainees — of migrant families and those seeking asylum.
The attacks come amid increasingly nationalistic and aggressive language from the Trump administration regarding refugees and immigrants, who the president says poses a threat to the United States.
In January, President Trump was criticized after he lamented the number of immigrants coming the country from “shithole countries,” specifically referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and several African nations. He has also called immigrants “animals” and claimed that they pose a danger to American citizens. After taking office in January 2017, he implemented a travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations, suggesting that immigrants from those countries participated in hostile and violent ideologies and spreading fabricated stories of immigrants allegedly attacking people to support his stance.
The deadly attack also comes as the Trump administration attempts to crack down on immigration and limit the number of asylum seekers allowed to gain refugee status in the United States. Under the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy, enacted in April and expanded in May, anyone found attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border without documentation is referred for prosecution, with children forcibly removed from their parents’ care and taken to juvenile or “tender age” facilities, many of which have histories of abuse or mismanagement.
At present, the administration says it has more than 2,000 immigrant children in its custody, and though President Trump signed an executive order last month supposedly reuniting those families, and a judge ordered the administration to do so within 30 days, there is currently no plan in place to accommodate that order.