Chief Stephens: People shouldn't live in fear, but should remain vigiliant



Posted on May 4, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Updated Friday, May 4 at 6:10 PM

SPOKANE—The Spokane Police Department is continuing its investigation into the fatal stabbing of a woman on Thursday.

In a Friday press conference, interim Police Chief Scott Stephens said the department is making the case a top priority because of the attack’s random and vicious nature.

The attack happened Thursday morning. Sharlotte McGill was attacked while walking her dog and ultimately died as a result of the stab wounds she sustained.

As McGill’s neighbors tried to help her breath, she gave them a brief description of her attacker.  The suspect is described as a black man in his early to mid 30’s, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.  The suspect may also have a lazy eye.  Detectives detained a man of similar description, but let him go the same day.

The SPD says it’s dedicating significant resources to the case and has provided all officers with suspect description information. Interim Chief Scott Stephens says there are 20-25 people working on the case, including the entire Major Crimes Unit. The WSP crime lab will also expedite the results of DNA analysis and other forensic information.

Despite several hours of collecting evidence, police have not recovered a murder weapon.

All law enforcement agencies in the region have been notified. Washington’s Most Wanted program will include the information in a program over the weekend and Crimestoppers is collecting information from the public.

Detectives say they’ve received a lot of tips from numerous sources and those tips will be analyzed and assigned for follow-ups.  Neighbors reported seeing suspicious activity along the trail, including someone going in and out of the bushes a couple days prior to the attack.

Stephens says the suspect may be a transient, so they’re checking local shelters.

The chief says people shouldn’t live in fear, but they do need to remain vigilant.  He says trust your gut and report suspicious activity or people who may match the suspect description.

At this point, investigators still have no motive for the crime and believe it was random.

Anyone with any information is urged to call Crimecheck.