Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Everything we know about the mass stabbing in Rockford, Illinois

A mail carrier and a 15-year-old girl were among the victims spread over several streets on Wednesday afternoon

Dan Gooding
Tuesday 02 April 2024 18:42 BST
Juvenile victims of Illinois knifeman had been watching a movie at home when attacked

A brutal stabbing attack swept through an Illinois neighbourhood on 27 March, leaving four people dead and seven injured.

What started as an attack in one home in the early afternoon spilt onto the streets of Rockford, with a mail carrier ending up as one of the fatalities.

Now a 22-year-old man is in custody facing multiple murder and intent to kill charges as a community struggles to come to terms with what happened.

Here is everything we know so far.

What happened in Rockford?

Police tape surrounds many homes as police investigate a mass stabbing along the 2300 block of Holmes Street on March 27, 2024, in Rockford, Illinois (AP)

911 calls started coming into Rockford Police Department at around 1.14pm local time on Wednesday 27 March.

First, suspect Christian Soto, 22, allegedly stabbed his friend Jacob Schupbach at an address on Holmes Street, after smoking marijuana laced with some form of narcotic.

He also attacked Mr Schupbach’s mother, Ramona, who was 63. Both were found dead inside the home.

Mr Soto then fled the scene, attacking mailman Jay Larson, 49, with a knife and his pickup truck. The veteran USPS worker later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

After this, three teenage girls were attacked with a softball bat inside a home on Cleveland Avenue, with 15-year-old Jenna Newcomb dying in her basement bedroom.

At another house, a woman and her two children were attacked before another woman was assaulted inside a home at the intersection of Florence Street and Eggleston Road.

She fled the property, with Mr Soto allegedly following and stabbing her in the street before a passing driver stopped to help.

He was then attacked before police arrived and arrested the suspect. The woman was in a stable condition in hospital.

Who were the victims in Rockford?

(AP)

The victims killed were:

  • Jacob Schupbach, 23
  • Ramona Schubach, 63
  • Jay Larson, 49
  • Jenne Newcomb, 15 

You can read more about them here.

Who is the alleged attacker?

Christian Soto, 22, charged with 11 counts of murder/intent to kill and two counts of home invasion (Rockford)

Police initially said they had arrested a 22-year-old male suspect, but gave no further details.

On Thursday morning, it was confirmed that Christian Soto, 22, had been charged with 11 counts of murder/intent to kill and two counts of home invasion.

He first appeared in court on 28 March, before another hearing on 2 April to determine if he could apply to be released ahead of a trial.

That was denied, with the judge siding with the State Attorney and ruling that Mr Soto must remain in jail.

He will next appear in court for arraignment on 15 April.

What have Rockford officials said?

Stabbing spree in Rockford: Suspect in custody after 4 killed, 5 injured

At a briefing the day after the attack, Rockford’s Mayor Tom McNamara became emotional as he gave a message from Jenna Newcomb’s mother.

“Jenna’s mom wants the community to know that Jenna died saving her sister and her friend and protecting them from further harm,” the Mayor said.

Later, he was asked what stood out to him as the worst part of the attack.

“It’s spring break, you had three girls watching a movie… I can’t even comprehend that,” he said, getting choked up.

US State Attorney J. Hanley advised that further charges may come for Mr Soto as the investigation continues.

Ruth Mendoza, from the US Postal Inspection Service in Chicago, said the mailman, Jay Larson had been with the USPS for over two decades.

“This tragedy happened while Jay was doing his job, like many of us were at that exact time,” Ms Mendoza said. “Jay was doing what he loved: serving his community, delivering mail to customers that he has served for 25 years.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in