A 3-year-old refugee girl who was stabbed at her birthday party in a Boise, Idaho, apartment complex over the weekend has died of her injuries, police said Monday.
Eight other people, including five children, were also hurt in the attack. Police said seven victims remained in the hospital as of Monday, “many with serious or critical injuries.”
The victims included refugees who had fled to the U.S. from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia to escape violence, authorities said. The 3-year-old who died was identified as Ethiopian refugee Ruya Kadir by the International Rescue Committee, a group that has worked with the child’s family. The IRC said Ruya arrived in the U.S. from Ethiopia in 2015 with her mother. Ruya’s father is in Turkey.
“Our caseworkers describe Ruya as a child who always sparkled when she walked into a room,” the nonprofit said in a Monday statement. “She was her mother’s princess, always the center of attention, and loved pink and Disney princesses.”
“Ruya’s parents are enduring every parent’s worst nightmare, which is made doubly cruel by the fact that they fled to America to escape conflict in Ethiopia,” the IRC added.
Stabbing suspect Timmy Kinner was charged with first-degree murder and eight counts of aggravated battery on Monday, reported The New York Times. Police say Kinner had gone on a stabbing spree at the child’s birthday party on Saturday night to exact “revenge” on “any target that was available.”
Kinner, who has an extensive criminal record across several states, had been living temporarily at the apartment complex with another resident but had been asked to leave Friday after neighbors had become concerned by his behavior, police said.
“The tragedy is that a 3-year-old little girl was having a birthday party just a few doors away from where Kinner had been staying,” Boise Police Chief William Bones told reporters on Saturday.
The other victims of the stabbing attack were described as two 4-year-olds, a 6-year-old, an 8-year-old, a 12-year-old and three adults who had intervened to protect the children.
One child has been released from the hospital, police said Monday. The other victims remain hospitalized.
Bones said there was no evidence to suggest the attack was a hate crime but said investigators would look into that possibility given “the nature of the location and the victims.” Kinner is an American citizen and is not a refugee, the police chief said.
“Our victims are some of the newest members of our community. They’re victims of their past homes who have fled violence from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia,” Bones said Sunday. “This was an attack against those who are most vulnerable ― our children.”