How the Illinois Mass Stabbing Unfolded

Police say Christian Soto killed 4 people, including letter carrier, 15-year-old girl
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2024 4:30 AM CDT
Victims in Illinois Stabbing Include Letter Carrier, Teen Girl
Bella Rosado, right, and Delanie Palmer, friends of stabbing victim Jenna Newcomb, hug during a vigil Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Rockford, Ill., for the victims of Wednesday's stabbings.   (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

A 22-year-old man has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in a frenzied stabbing and beating rampage that left four people dead in a matter of minutes in a northern Illinois city, authorities said Thursday. Christian Soto is also charged with seven counts of attempted murder and home invasion with a dangerous weapon following the attacks in Rockford on Wednesday. Seven people were injured. Court and jail records show Soto appeared in court briefly Thursday and remains held without bond. More, from the AP:

  • Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, who struggled to hold back tears during a news conference Thursday, listed the victims as 63-year-old Romona Schupbach; 23-year-old Jacob Schupbach; 49-year-old Jay Larson; and 15-year-old Jenna Newcomb. Three people remained hospitalized Thursday, officials said. The other four were treated and released, Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd said.

  • Redd said Soto and Jacob Schupbach grew up together. Soto told police that the two were smoking marijuana at Schupbach's home before the attack, Winnebago County State's Attorney J. Hanley said. "Soto said that he believes that drugs provided to him by Jacob were laced with an unknown narcotic," Hanley said. "Soto said he became paranoid after the drug usage. He said he retrieved a knife from the kitchen ... and proceeded to stab" his friend and his friend's mother to death.
  • Hanley said officers next found Larson alive in a front yard on nearby Winnetka Drive, but he had been stabbed multiple times and died soon after in a hospital. Ruth Mendonça, inspector-in-charge of the Chicago office of the US Postal Inspection Service, told reporters that Larson had been a mail carrier for 25 years. Soto told police that he recalled "taking out the mailman," Hanley said.
  • A woman and her adult son and daughter told officers that a man armed with a knife forced his way into their home. The man stabbed the mother near her left eye as she opened the door to let their dog out, Hanley said. Her children fought with Soto and also were wounded. The son told police that the attacker ran away after he struck him with a syrup bottle.

  • Jenna Newcomb and a friend were watching a movie in her basement and Jenna's sister was upstairs when Soto entered their house. One of the girls later told police Soto was covered in blood. He beat all three teens with a baseball bat and Jenna died in the attack.
  • Soto then broke a window to get into a home close by on Florence Street. A woman fled the home and Soto chased her into the yard and stabbed her. Keith Fahreny, who was driving by, saw the attack and stopped to intervene, Hanley said. Soto attacked Fahreny and tried to steal his vehicle, but Fahreny dragged him from the car. Soto once again fled on foot, but he was soon arrested by a sheriff's deputy.
(More Illinois stories.)

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