It was a quiet afternoon Saturday at the public library in Winchester, Massachusetts. People sat studiously reading, or wandering aimlessly through the rows of books, picking out something that looked interesting. Until the moment that 23 year old Jeffrey Yao entered into the building with a hunting knife, killing one woman and stabbing a 77 year old man.
The Middlesex District Attorney released a statement:
“Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Winchester Chief of Police Peter MacDonnell have confirmed that Jeffrey Yao, 23 of Winchester has been arrested in connection with a double stabbing that occurred this morning at Winchester Public Library. Yao has been charged with one count of armed assault with intent to murder and one count of murder.
Shortly after 10:30 a.m. this morning Winchester Police responded to the Winchester Public Library for a report that two people had been stabbed. Upon arrival police located a 22-year-old female and a 77-year-old male, both Winchester residents, suffering from stab wounds. Both victims were transported to area hospitals. The female victim subsequently died from her injuries. The male victim remains hospitalized.
The preliminary investigation suggests that the female victim was seated at a table in the library when the suspect approached her, unprovoked, stabbing her multiple times. The male victim was stabbed in the arm while attempting to intervene.
Yao was placed into custody at the Library and transported to Winchester Police Department. The circumstances surrounding the stabbing, including the motive are under investigation.”
In this case, as with other cases of crisis, the patrons and staff of the library stepped in to assist in holding the suspect.
Tom Shattuck at The Boston Herald noted,
A number of people began coming from different parts of the library. … Library staff did respond as well.”
He had a hunting knife.
They didn’t care.
They cornered him and shut him down until police officers arrived on scene.
Winchester police Chief Peter MacDonnell emphasized their good work, saying, “First I’d like to thank the men and women that were present at the Winchester Public Library … who came to this woman’s aid … and corralled the suspect.”
The best of humanity answered the call during that dark act yesterday. Everyday people from little Winchester, Mass., put a higher cause above themselves.
Police knew of Jeffrey Yao
It was another case where residents had warned police of Yao’s erratic behavior in a vandalism case prior to the attack. Police are not mind-readers, and cannot involuntarily commit someone to the psych ward without some sort of evidence that they are a danger to themselves or others. And even then the suspected mentally ill person would generally only be held for a short period of time, given meds, appear before a judge, and let go. That process can take less than 72 hours in many cases.
Neighbors of suspect Jeffrey Yao say they saw warning signs of bad behavior in the past & reported him to police for vandalism. Now he’s charged with murder for stabbing a woman to death inside a public library today. Details at 10PM @boston25 pic.twitter.com/NA1EQQaRgj
— Litsa Pappas (@LitsaPappas) February 25, 2018
One person was killed after a double stabbing in a public library in Massachusetts, police said. https://t.co/XANu9d9gAg
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) February 25, 2018
Again we see a useless police dept !! Terrified neighbors said they had reported Yao to authorities numerous times. How many this time?
Woman dies after stabbing at Winchester Public Library https://t.co/ltsoWI9Cfh via @BostonGlobe
— Al Gouhti (@AlGouhti) February 25, 2018
Crazy guy walks into a public building with a knife, kills one person. A tragedy, but not a massacre. https://t.co/ZDeu0aTtBt
— Connor Ring (@ConnorRing_) February 25, 2018
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