WINCHESTER, Mass. — A Massachusetts woman is dead and an elderly man injured after a man with a knife attacked the woman from behind while she was quietly sitting at a table in her local library.
According to reports, Jeffrey Yao, 23, entered the Winchester Public Library Saturday morning and soon walked up behind a 22-year-old woman who was either studying or working in the reading room and attacked her with a knife.
“Mr. Yao began striking her with … what appears to be a hunting knife with approximately a 10-inch blade,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan told reporters during a press conference. “She suffered a number of slash and stab wounds to the head and upper torso.”
The woman tried to get away, moving toward the lobby, and others hurried to help her. A 77-year-old man that sought to assist the woman was then stabbed in the arm by Yao.
Others were able to corral Yao until the police arrived to take the man into custody. The police station is across the street from the library.
The woman, whose identification has not yet been released, later died of her injuries. The 77-year-old is expected to recover.
Yao has now been charged with murder and attempted murder with a dangerous weapon. According to Ryan, Yao had been known to the police, and the Boston Globe reports that several of his neighbors had become afraid of him. Yao had been arrested previously after he allegedly threw an Adirondack chair at a house.
“We warned them [that he would kill someone],” one neighbor told the outlet. “We warned them. I can’t believe this. The only one that’s going to protect you in this world is yourself.”
One resident said that in light of last week’s mass shooting at a public high school in Florida, the stabbing was “very unsettling.”
“It’s a place we take our families. I would never have thought of not feeling safe in a library,” Irina Puscasu, who arrived at the library Saturday morning only to see an ambulance pull up to the building. “The library is such a peaceful place.”
Yao is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. Officials do not yet know whether or not he knew the woman, or if he carried out the attack randomly.
“The staff and board of trustees are deeply saddened by the tragic event which occurred this morning at the library,” Ann Wirtanen said in a statement on the Winchester Library website. “Our thoughts are with the young woman’s family and those who were injured and deeply traumatized. We are doing everything we can to cooperate with the investigation and will remain closed until at least Tuesday.”
Galatians 5:19-24 reads, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”