With a blanket draped over his shoulders and a question for potential targets — “Do you love God?” — a Colorado Springs man went on a 40-minute stabbing spree early Monday morning that wounded eight people around downtown and along a series of trails near Interstate 25.
“I didn’t know what to say,” said Terri Poore, 48. She said she was terrified as the knife-wielding man quizzed her about her religious faith.
“I didn’t know if to say ‘Yes,’ and he was going to hurt me. Or ‘No,’ and he was going to hurt me,” Poore said. “I’ve never been so traumatized in my life.”
Two people remained hospitalized Monday afternoon after the mile-and-a-half-long rampage, which stretched from 8th Street and U.S. 24 on the city’s west side to the heart of downtown Colorado Springs.
None of the victims’ injuries were life-threatening, said Lt. Jim Sokolik, a police spokesman.
Colorado Springs police arrested a man in the attacks, but did not release his name or any other information about him.
The attacks began about 1:30 a.m., when officers were called to 8th Street and U.S. 24 for a stabbing and found two people wounded. Witnesses said the assailant ran toward America the Beautiful Park.
A quarter-mile away, Poore, who is homeless, said she was cooking ravioli with a candle beneath a bridge southwest of the park when a man draped in blanket appeared asking whether she loved God.
“He came from nowhere,” Poore said.
She did not answer. But when a man near her tried kicking the knife away, the assailant attacked — stabbing the man about 20 times, Poore said.
“He was just yelling ‘Stop, stop,’” Poore said.
Jonny Seaton, 20, said he tried to help the bloodied man, and at one point, Seaton also recalled being asked by the knife-wielding person whether he was a Christian.
Seaton said “yes,” but his fiancée replied “no,” and the man — wielding a partially-serrated, 4- to 5-inch knife — attacked them, too.
Seaton recalled the assailant holding a knife to his neck. When Seaton tried to escape, the knife slashed his ear, requiring 9 stitches and 3 staples to mend, he said. His fiance also tried to help.
“The blade was to my throat and she got up and charged him,” Seaton said.
The man slashed Seaton’s fiancee’s face, slicing from the top of her cheek to her chin.
“He had some super-human speed to him or something,” Seaton said.
At about 2:10 a.m., police received another call about more stabbing victims near Tejon and Boulder streets, police said. They arrived to find people who had just been stabbed, holding the assailant so that he couldn’t run.
Eight people total were wounded in the attacks. Seven of them were taken to UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central.
Five of the victims were released Monday, said Cary Vogrin, a hospital spokeswoman. She could not provide information about their conditions.
According to archived police radio traffic on RadioReference.com, one of the stabbing victims was pregnant, though police could not confirm that detail.
Seaton said he recognized the assailant as someone who had also been living homeless.
The stabbing left homeless people living at the park rattled Monday afternoon.
Homeless for seven years, Poore said she routinely slept under the bridge where the attack happened — preferring to avoid shelters.
After Monday’s attack, she said she’d be staying in encampments with other homeless people, hoping for safety in numbers.
“This is traumatizing,” Poore said. “It’s always in the back of my mind that someone would attack me. It’s not as safe as it used to be, that’s for sure.”
Olivia Prentzel of The Gazette contributed to this story.-