SEATTLE – Police have told shaken residents of a south Seattle neighborhood that an attack on two women stabbed as they slept in their home appears to be random. One woman died, and the other was seriously wounded.
More than 300 people attended a Monday night community meeting at which police released a sketch of the man they are trying to find.
"The man was a stranger to these women, and it appears to be a random attack," Interim Police Chief John Diaz told the crowd, according a recording of the meeting that was posted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz, who has been with the Seattle department more than two decades, told the crowd that the attack early Sunday "was shocking to me, no doubt about it."
"It's one of the things I'll remember for the rest of my life," he said.
An intense manhunt was under way for a man in his late 20s or early 30s. The 39-year-old woman who survived described him as slim but muscular, about 6 feet tall and 160 pounds, with a thin mustache. That woman was released Monday from Harborview Medical Center. The 36-year-old woman died at the scene. Officials have not identified the victims.
Diaz said the crime scene was the most brutal he and his officers have seen in some time and vowed to put every available resource into catching the attacker.
Detectives will be able to catch him through "science, good police work and community," Diaz said.
Police offered no details about the investigation and wouldn't say whether either woman was sexually assaulted.
Neighbors reported seeing the two women run screaming from the house while the attacker fled on foot.
Officers appealed to the public for any information that could shed light on the attack.
"We're taking it very seriously," said Gregg Snodgrass, who lives about a block from where the stabbing occurred. "It's scary to imagine a nightmare like this happening."
Nicolas Ramirez told KING-TV he was awakened by screams, looked outside his bedroom window and saw a neighbor bleeding at the end of her driveway.
"I heard the lady say, 'I don't want to die, I don't want to die,' then, 'Tell my mom I love her,' and those were the last words I heard from her," Ramirez said.
Another neighbor, Albert Barrientes, told KOMO-TV the woman who died was naked and "covered in blood, all the way from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet."
Ramirez said his teenage daughter brought towels to help the women try to stop their bleeding before medics arrived and is now staying with friends in another part of town.
"She's in shock and doesn't want to come home," he said. "I'm worried because as far as I know, he's out there on the loose."