Story Summary

Pioneer Square stabbing

A couple walking to their car after a Sounders game on Sept. 13 were stabbed and Troy Wolff, a professor at Shoreline Community College, was killed in the incident. Wolff was attempting to protect his girlfriend who was attacked by the suspect. The suspect told police he was a schizophrenic and believed Wolff and his girlfriend were going to kill him.

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Local News

Crime and violence still plague downtown

SEATTLE — Sounders game night and tens of thousands of people make their way through downtown, Belltown, pioneer square and SODO.

Safety is not an issue for most.

“Generally I’m just more aware of my surroundings in places I’m not sure of but I’ve never felt like my life was in danger at all,” downtown visitor Lindsay Kolar said.

In spite of a drop in violent crime in the downtown core some downtown residents tell us; there is danger here… And sadly people get attacked here far more often than some realize.

“Recently I saw someone getting beat up at two in the morning across the street actually that doesn’t make me feel safe,” downtown shopper Kirra Steinbrueck said.

The latest attacked happened Saturday morning near 3rd and Yesler.

Police say a man being robbed of his backpack refused to give it up and was severely beaten by a group of men.

Fortunately his primary attacker was caught a short later.

In another attack, coast guard veteran Rory Burke, seen here in the tuxedo, was brutally beaten, robbed, and left for dead in downtown.

A lot of attacks are caught on tape.

A girl was beaten in Westlake Park.

A man was blindsided while walking through an alley in Pioneer Square.

He’s out cold and his attacker rolls him over and goes through his pockets.

“This really is unacceptable. This is about our neighborhood about something that`s been going wrong for a long time, Downtown Seattle Association president Kate Joncas said.

Joncas says solving the problem is easy; put more police officers on the street.

“For cities our size we are still below the median I don`t know if there is a magic number but we know we don`t have enough,” Joncas said.

In response to the growing frustration and concern when it comes to downtown safety, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn recently announced more than three-and-a-half million dollars to combat crime.

Some of this money will be used to hire new officers, but some will help fund a huge new plan to give drunks, drug addicts, and the mentally ill a chance to get help instead getting jailed.

“This is a really good start and I think a good model, but more is needed.  And the encouraging thing is now we have a partnership among everybody that needs to be at the table.  If we can stick together we might be able to make continued changes,” Joncas said.

Police say the usual rules apply.

Try to walk in pairs or in a group and try to make sure to stay in well-lit areas and out of alleys.


Shoreline Community College english teacher Troy Wolff, stabbed to death Friday night in Pioneer Square.

SEATTLE — Donnell Jackson, charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Troy Wolff, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday morning.

Jackson is being held at the King County Jail; his bail has been set at $2 million.

Wolff and his girlfriend were walking in Pioneer Square after attending a Sounders game on Sept. 13 when Jackson reportedly attacked Wolff’s girlfriend, Kristin Ito. Wolff stepped in to protect Ito and Jackson then reportedly stabbed him, causing injuries that led to his death.

When police arrived on the scene, Jackson reportedly told them he suffered from schizophrenia.

SEATTLE — King County prosecutors filed charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder Tuesday against the man accused of randomly stabbing two people in Pioneer Square Friday night.


Shoreline Community College teacher Troy Wolff, stabbed to death Friday night in Pioneer Square.

Investigators say Troy Wolff, a Shoreline Community College teacher, and his girlfriend, Kristin Ito, were walking through Pioneer Square when Donnell D. Jackson approached them and began stabbing Ito in an unprovoked attack.

Wolff attempted to intervene but was also stabbed and later died from his injuries.

Prosecutors say the charges against the 44-year-old man include a deadly weapon enhancement.

Jackson remains in jail with bail set at $2 million.

On Monday, Jackson declined to appear in court.

Arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 8:30 a.m. at the King County Courthouse.

Officers say, when they arrived on the scene Friday night, Jackson admitted to being schizophrenic, and claimed his victims were trying to kill him.

Local News

Seattle mayoral race heats up over crime, mental health issues

SEATTLE — Mayor Mike McGinn promises more cops on the beat in the wake of the latest deadly attack downtown.

“Today, we are announcing funding for 15 new police officers,” McGinn said at a news conference Tuesday.

mcginnThe announcement comes after a college professor was stabbed to death and his girlfriend was stabbed and seriously injured as they walked to their car in Pioneer Square Friday night after a Sounders game.  Police say the suspect has mental health issues.

McGinn also wants more funding in the city for mental health services and says it may take a new tax to accomplish that.

“If this is a priority, and the public believes it’s a priority, and there’s a fair tax source for it, then we’ll move ahead with that.”

The mayor believes the state should pay its fair share for mental health services, and he contended his opponent in the mayoral race, state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, helped kill legislation that would have done that.

“Senator Murray was chairman of the (Senate) Ways and Means Committee, and that bill died in his committee,” McGinn said.

Murray, in turn, said he wants the mayor to stop blaming the Legislature and points to new legislation that will help those with mental problems.

“The mayor doesn’t seem to understand that this Legislature this year enacted the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare,” said Murray. “That is going to provide an incredible amount of mental health funding for those very individuals.”

Murray said McGinn should have done more the last four years about crime in the city and helping the mentally ill.

It’s an issue that is beginning to take center stage in the race for mayor.

Seattle’s current mayor said he thinks hiring 15 new officers is a step in the right direction.

“You know people want to be safe, and we respond to that,” McGinn said.



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.


Troy Wolff via Facebook

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

pioneer square stabbing victimsSEATTLE — The 44-year-old suspect in a fatal stabbing in Pioneer Square will appear before a judge Monday.

Witnesses said Donnell D. Jackson repeatedly stabbed Troy Wolff and his girlfriend as they were walking downtown after from a Sounders game.

The incident happened around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Jackson does not have a criminal history in Washington state. The officer who arrested him Jackson told police he was a schizophrenic. He told police the victim he killed was a member of a group that was trying to kill him.

On Monday, Mayor Mike McGinn and councilmember Bruce Harrell talked about the incident at a press conference. We will have more information on that and Jackson’s court appearance on Q13 Fox News at 4 and 5 p.m.

SEATTLE – The mom of the local professor brutally killed in Pioneer Square says she has already forgiven the killer.

Troy Wolff died protecting his girlfriend from a stranger armed with a knife.

“Children are not supposed to die before their parents but it happened,” said Troy’s mother Pam Wolff.

It started off as a fun night, Troy and his girlfriend Kristin Ito had just left the Sounders game Friday night when an alleged mentally ill man started stabbing Kristin in the torso out of nowhere.

“In my eyes he saved Kristin, he is a hero,” said close friend Robert Castro.

The knife wielding stranger turned the weapon on Troy  when he jumped in to save his girlfriend. On a hospital bed recovering, Kristin found out Sunday that her boyfriend of four years had died.

“You have these emotions it’s second by second you are up and down,” she is going to go through that,” said Pam.

As the family tries to deal with the loss, the Pioneer Square community is shocked by the random violence.

“It’s terrify, it’s scary, the world is definitely changing,” said Trenton Cotton.

“I don’t think people should walk in fear but we should be aware,” said Julianna Lee.

On Sunday Seahawks fans walking by what was a crime scene on Friday were wondering if anyone tried to help the couple.

“I think people need to step in more when it comes to stuff like that after a Sounders game there were obviously tons of people around,” Rania Aboulhosn.

Pioneer Square business owners are also rattled.

“We are all concerned that something like that happens,” said Tinello owner Rudy Lavalle.

Lavalle says it’s time the community reclaim Pioneer Square which he calls the heart of Seattle, ripe with history and tourists.

“We have to directly deal with it the city has to focus on it and not let up,” said Lavalle.

But for Pam Wolff her focus is to deal with the pain. The only way she knows how to do that is to forgive.

“I know people are going to have a hard time understanding it but this man was somebody’s son like Troy was my son,” said Wolff.

The suspect is scheduled for a bail hearing Monday afternoon.

Kristin is in stable condition as of Sunday night.

Troy was the chair of the English department at Shoreline Community College. Colleagues say Troy was a passionate leader who cared about his students.

Many in Pioneer square say the recent attack brings to mind other victims including Nicole Westbrook.

The 21 year-old was shot and killed in a random drive-by shooting last year. The killer is still on the loose.

professor killed

Photo courtesy of Daniel Berman/

Local News

Local professor killed in random stabbing

SEATTLE – Friends say a random double stabbing that killed a local professor was senseless and horrific.

Troy Wolff, 46, was killed trying to protect his girlfriend from a knife wielding stranger in Pioneer Square Friday night.

Wolff lived life to the fullest and loved sharing it with his girlfriend Kristin Ito.

“He was at the game and he was with his partner,” said colleague Kathie Hunt.

At Century Link Friday night Wolff posted on Facebook “cheap seats, great match.” Hours later, while leaving the game, the couple is brutally attacked at the corner of 3rd Ave S and South Jackson Street.

“The randomness of it is just outrageous,” said Hunt.

Out of nowhere a man stabbed Ito in the torso repeatedly. Wolff jumped in to protect her. Chris Lundgren who works in Pioneer Square says the details are horrible.

“When he stepped in, the guy with the knife went insane and stabbed him in the vicinity of 40 times that is what I heard,” said Lundgren.

Police say the 44 year-old suspect was unprovoked and had mental issues.

“Then he stood there with the knife waiting for the cops to show up,” said Lundgren.


Photo courtesy of Daniel Berman/

When police arrived, the attacker was still standing there with the couple on the ground.

“It doesn’t surprise me that he was defending someone he cared about,” said Hunt.

But Hunt is stunned that Wolff won’t teach another day at Shoreline Community College.

“The loss is just incredible to us,” said Hunt.

People who live and work in Pioneer Square cannot believe the violence.

“We don’t get a lot of violence but when we do it is extreme,” said Lundgren.

Just a few blocks away from Friday’s double stabbing, 21 year-old was shot and killed in a random shooting last year.  The person who killed Nicole Westbrook is still out there.

Also just this March a man is shot in the face on 3rd Ave S and Washington. Lundgren believes much of the violence stems from the mentally ill.

“I would gladly pay a dollar extra in taxes every week if I knew there was a somewhere these people could be checking in and possibly get medicated,” said Lundgren.

“I think it’s too horrifying to think of the blood and details that is not going to help us heal,” said Hunt.

Friends say they want Wolff remembered by how he lived not how he died.

“Always carried positive energy into a room he lit it up when he walked in, he was very passionate,” said Hunt.

The professor was the chair of the English department and had worked at Shoreline Community college for 17 years. His girlfriend was in stable condition at Harborview on Saturday night. The suspect is scheduled for a bail hearing Monday afternoon.

Pioneer Sq Double StabbingSEATTLE — Police have a man in custody who reportedly stabbed a man and a woman Saturday night in Pioneer Square. The male victim died from his injuries at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle police said.

A 911 call came in around 10:30 p.m. Friday reporting a double stabbing near 3rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street.  The woman was confronted by the male suspect who reportedly stabbed her once. When the man she was with tried to help her, the suspect turned on the man and stabbed him in the neck and torso.

Police said officers from SWAT and gang units arrived at the scene and took the suspect into custody. The suspect was reportedly holding the knife used in the stabbings when police arrived on the scene. The victims were transported to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening wounds.

Police are investigating the incident, but said it appears that the stabbings were unprovoked.