By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – By definition, Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel called it a serial killing. On Thursday, flanked by the city council and staff, as well as other law enforcement, Pytel announced the arrest of 21-year-old former UC Davis Student Carlos Dominguez.
According to a release from UC Davis, “Dominguez was in his third year at UC Davis until April 25, 2023, when he was separated for academic reasons.”
Chancellor Gary May declined further comment on his status.
Pytel described the arrest as having occurred Wednesday at Sycamore Park, following roughly 15 callers who reported seeing a person matching the description provided after the third attack.
“All of them reported kind of the same thing. A person was at the park, was wearing the same clothing that we had put out in the description, and that he was wandering around,” he said.
Eventually he said, one of the callers told them he was following and was able to lead police directly to the suspect.
“He was wearing really the same clothing that was described by the witnesses after the third attack,” Pytel said. “This looked like a match.”
He said they spoke briefly but because it was becoming a bit of “neighborhood spectacle” he went willingly to the police station, and was interviewed for hours. Pytel described him as cooperative and “based on the interview, physical evidence that we were able to collect from him and the clothing and other physical evidence at that point that was starting to come in, we decided to first arrest him for possessing a large knife that was on his person.”
Pytel declined to comment on whether he had confessed to the crime. He was unaware as to whether he was planning another attack.
“We believe that all three are connected and we have evidence and information that they are,” he said.
Pytel indicated that Dominguez lived with two roommates, that the police talked with them, but did not divulge any information from these interviews.
Pytel added, “I believe that we have the right person in custody. I think that Davis can resume life as normal now.”
Mayor Will Arnold spoke at the press conference as well.
“Thank you Chief for all of your work and your dedication over, uh, the course of this investigation. It’s because of the fine police work that we are here today to announce that the individual believed to be responsible for these horrific brutal attacks is no longer free to terrorize our community,” he said.
Arnold continued, “This is a remarkable achievement with the Davis Police Department to bring these cases to this point so quickly. The arrest today is the culmination of excellent investigative work by the Davis Police, as well as our regional and national law enforcement partners. I commend and thank them, these professionals who work around the clock to ensure that this criminal is taken out of our neighborhoods and is now in custody.”
He said, “To our community and to the families of the victims, let us not forget that their lives have been irreparably impacted. We will never forget David and Karim. And we will continue to hope and pray that Kim makes a full and speedy recovery. We must remain committed as a community to supporting them with love and compassion.”
Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry attended the press conference as well. Her office issued a statement.
“This has been a devastating week for Davis residents and the UC Davis Community. Two innocent people, David Henry Breaux and Karim Abou Najim, lost their lives, and one woman was seriously injured in these senseless acts of violence,” she said. “Nothing can undo these tragic losses, but David’s and Karim’s loved ones can now mourn.”
“It is a great relief to me, as I know it is to my constituents in and around the City of Davis, that this horrific threat is over. But, I ask everyone to remember that the pain of fear and loss is still fresh and will not go away soon. Our mission now is to help each other remember those we’ve lost, and restore peace, and compassion, to our community,” Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry added.
Asked if he would classify him as a serial killer, Pytel responded, “Based on the information that we have and the definition of a serial killer, that would apply.”
He later added, “If you use the very strict definition, then yes.”
The case now goes to the Yolo DA’s office for prosecution and Pytel believes he is likely to be arraigned on Monday.
The Vanguard will have updates shortly.