BONNER COUNTY, Idaho — Bonner County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a 19-year-old Puyallup man is charged with first degree murder for fatally stabbing a taxi driver Monday after he said he was denied entry to Gonzaga University.
Bonner County Sheriff officials said Jacob Coleman, 19, flew from Seattle to Spokane with the intention of starting a new semester at college. Coleman said he was denied entry to Gonzaga, became angry and began to have homicidal thoughts.
He hailed a cab from Spokane and asked to be driven to a fictitious house in the eastern part of Bonner County. The news release states Coleman said he became increasingly homicidal in the cab. He asked the driver to stop at a gas station in Ponderay, purchased a knife and re-entered the cab.
The driver stopped the cab at the intersection of Spokane Street and East Railroad Avenue in the city of Kootenai after realizing Coleman’s destination was nonexistent. Reports state that is when Coleman stabbed the victim with the knife he purchased earlier.
Reports state the victim’s family called Bonner County Dispatch after not hearing from the victim.
"He was talking to my mom, he was a little nervous," his older brother Balgit Singh said on Tuesday. They had spoken over the phone. "That was the last call from our family. So my mom's like 'well, if he already paid you just drop him off another ten miles.'"
He said they lost contact with him soon afterward and called 9-1-1.
According to the release, the taxi driver died from his wounds. Bonner County Sheriff’s Office officials confirm the victim was Gagandeep Singh, 22, from Spokane Valley.
Balgit told KREM 2 they were able to trace Singh's phone to the intersection where his body was eventually located after their calls and text messages went unanswered. He said the suspect took his brother's phone and texted them "You just f***ing call the cops, it's not that hard."
"I think my brother was gone by then, a long ways by then," the victim's brother, Balgit Singh said. He said officials told him not to go to the intersection of the incident and did not immediately tell him his brother had been killed.
Gagandeep's family came to the scene today looking for answers. They placed flowers at the gas station where police said Gagandeep was stabbed to death. His brother tells me his life was taken too soon.
"He was only 22-year-old. He left us too soon, way too soon. We had a lot of thing planned being in a family. We had a lot of thing planned out. I think God knows best. He left too soon. As of now we know we'll be in tears for a long long time because that was the only sibling I have," Balgit said.
Fellow taxi driver and friend of Gagandeep, Brian Campbell, said he was the smartest person he knew.
"He was developing an app to make it easier for people to get a ride home, or ride from airport or from the bus station. He was writing code to bring us up to the competition," said Campbell
Authorities said Coleman surrendered without incident and was charged with first degree murder. He is currently housed in the Bonner County Jail awaiting arraignment. He was expected in court Tuesday afternoon.
Gonzaga officials released a statement that said they had no record of an application for admission from Jacob Coleman of Puyallup, Washington.
"An individual matching his description was reported to have approached housing officials on campus Monday," Mary Joan Hahn, the community and public relations director for GU said in a statement. "As Mr. Coleman was not enrolled as a student, he was never assigned to campus housing and was informed of this fact by the Housing and Residence Life Office."
She said GU is working with law enforcement in the investigation and their hearts go out to the victim and his family.
"We're stressed, we've been crying all night and we haven't even seen our brother yet," Balgit said. "It's just awful."
BCSO said there is no immediate threat to the public and there is an ongoing investigation. If you have any information, authorities ask that you call Bonner County detectives at 208-263-8417.