SEATTLE — A judge set bail at $2 million Monday for a man accused of stabbing to death a Shoreline Community College professor and stabbing and seriously injuring his girlfriend in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.
The suspect, Donnell D. Jackson, 44, declined to appear in court Monday for a hearing.
Witnesses said Jackson repeatedly stabbed Troy Wolff, 46, the chair of the English Department at Shoreline Community College, and his girlfriend, Kristin Ito, as they were walking downtown from a Sounders game. The incident happened around 10:30 p.m. Friday.
Jackson does not have a criminal history in Washington state.
Seattle Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz spoke about the crime, saying, “After over 30 years of law enforcement experience in the city, this, to me, was an extremely shocking event.”
Police arrived in seconds and said they witnessed Jackson waving the bloody knife around. Officers say Jackson admitted to suffering from schizophrenia and claimed his victims were going to kill him.
The murder highlighted a growing problem in Seattle. Mental health experts say that very few people with mental illness are violent, but those that are can be a serious threat to the public.
City Councilman Bruce Harrell said, “This reaffirms what we know. That mental illness is a serious problem. We had a drastic cut in funding at state level and federal level and we now see the effects of it on our streets of Seattle and I’m very upset about that.”
Those on Pioneer Square knew all about the incident.
A concerned mother, Courtney Burke, said, “It was a little scary but not hugely surprising considering how many mentally ill people are in this neighborhood.”
Mike Klotz, a Pioneer Square business owner, said, “You have individuals that are not being monitored on the streets that need to have services that are not available to them.”
State funding for mental health services has been slashed in recent years.
Recognizing the issue, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the addition of two officers to a crisis management team and a second contracted mental health coordinator.
“When someone is violent, we have to have the ability to identify that, provide services and potentially isolate them so they cannot harm themselves or others,” McGinn said.
A judge held Jackson on $2 million dollar bail, saying he presents an extreme danger to others if released.
Jackson has been arrested before in Sacramento and Las Vegas, but never in Washington.
Shoreline Community College plans a celebration of life for Wolff at 2 p.m. Sunday at the college’s Pagoda Student Union Building dining room.
After the knife attacks, Seattle police posted safety tips on its blotter. You can find those tips at