Updated: December 18, 2020 06:14 PM
Created: December 18, 2020 12:45 PM
A 27-year-old Austin, Minnesota, man has been charged after allegedly fatally stabbing a boy who reportedly attempted to stop the man from harming his mother and siblings.
Police arrived at the scene on the 800 block of Third Avenue Tuesday at about 9 a.m. after receiving a call reporting a domestic incident.
A criminal complaint states officers found a woman on the lawn with a stab wound to her neck. The woman identified the suspect as 27-year-old Jaime Arquimides Vaca, her husband, and told officers her son had also been stabbed inside the house.
Inside, officers found the boy with stab wounds on the couch, the complaint states. Authorities learned the boy was attempting to protect his mother from Vaca.
The boy was taken to a nearby hospital and then flown to Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester where he later died.
Organizers of a candlelight vigil for the victim Friday night identified him as 15-year-old Julio Rodriguez, calling him a hero for sacrificing his life to defend his family.
The woman, meanwhile, was also flown to Saint Marys Hospital and underwent surgery to save her life, the complaint states.
Officers searched the rest of the house and found five other children hiding upstairs.
The complaint states officers learned Vaca and the woman had been fighting in their bedroom when Rodriguez kicked open the door to help his mother. When Rodriguez intervened to stop Vaca from choking his mother, the complaint states Vaca "stood up and grabbed a knife." The woman allegedly told Vaca not to hurt Rodriguez but Vaca stabbed them both, the complaint states.
Officers found Vaca, with a knife, inside a bathroom in the residence, the complaint states. After failing to comply with police orders, a Taser was used on him and he was arrested.
During an interview, Vaca told investigators he was arguing with his wife in their bedroom about a job he had recently quit. He told investigators once Rodriguez intervened, he "blacked out," though he could recall stabbing both his wife and the boy.
Vaca said Rodriguez called 911 and at that point, "he went upstairs and kissed his children goodbye," the complaint states.
When told Rodriguez had died, Vaca said, "I'm a murderer," according to the complaint.
According to court documents filed Wednesday, Vaca has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder—one not premeditated, one while committing a felony without intent—as well as one count of attempted second-degree murder, not premeditated and one count of first-degree assault.
Austin Police Chief David McKichan said, via a statement on social media, that his department "faced one of the most challenging and tragic calls I can recall in our city's history."
He went on to state that what the boy "did in the defense of his family was incredible and should be recognized. His love for his mother and his siblings was proven without a doubt and all who responded and have knowledge of the investigation were moved by his actions. He saved their lives. I hope in time and with the family involved, that we can recognize him for what he did."
The chief issued a plea to those who are in crisis or need support to seek help.
"Crisis response is always a good place to start," he wrote and included a link to Crisis Response for Southeast Minnesota in his post.
Vaca's next court appearance is Dec. 28.
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