California

Masked man stalks and stabs woman fumbling with keys outside home, Calif. cops say

Santa Rosa, California, police arrested a man suspected of following and stabbing a stranger as she got her keys out to enter her home. Her daughters came to the door after she pounded and applied pressure to the wound, police said.
Santa Rosa, California, police arrested a man suspected of following and stabbing a stranger as she got her keys out to enter her home. Her daughters came to the door after she pounded and applied pressure to the wound, police said. Santa Rosa Police Department

A Santa Rosa, California, woman was opening her door Tuesday just before midnight when a stranger came from behind and stabbed her in the back, according to police.

After the stabbing, the attacker ran away from the woman’s apartment complex.

Police arrested Jesse James Graham, a 40-year-old homeless man, on suspicion of stabbing the woman, Santa Rosa police said in a news release Wednesday. Police described the woman’s injuries as life-threatening, but she was rushed to a hospital and is in stable condition following emergency surgery.

Surveillance camera footage helped catch the suspect, who followed the woman as she got home from work, police said.

“You can see he’s tracking her, he walks up behind her,” Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Josh Ludtke said, describing the video, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “She’s literally at her door fumbling with her keys and he brutally stabs her.”

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Ludtke said the woman, 50, pounded on the door after the attack until her daughters, 19 and 21, brought her inside and treated her punctured lung while waiting for emergency responders, the Press Democrat reports.

Video and witnesses helped police identify Graham — who has had run-ins with police before — as the suspect, police said. The suspect in the video hid his head with a hat, and had another article of clothing wrapped around his face, the Press Democrat reports. Graham’s mugshot shows he has distinctive facial tattoos.

Detectives were on the lookout for Graham at several locations on Wednesday, and caught him when he was leaving an apartment on Jennings Avenue, the road where the stabbing occurred, police said.

Police said Graham didn’t know the woman before the stabbing and that there was no warning he would attack. The woman told police she may have seen him at the gym before, according to the Press Democrat.

“The motive for the attack remains unclear,” police said.

Graham is being held on $1 million bail at the Sonoma County Jail, according to online jail records. He is set to appear in court on Tuesday, jail records said.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

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