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Originally published July 20, 2009 at 9:32 PM | Page modified July 21, 2009 at 9:12 AM

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Police vow to catch South Park attacker

About 400 people packed the South Park Community Center tonight and heard police describe "one of those types of crimes that tears at the fabric of a community" — the stabbing of two women inside their home early Sunday.

Seattle Times staff reporters

About 400 people packed the South Park Community Center Monday night and heard police describe "one of those types of crimes that tears at the fabric of a community" — the stabbing of two women inside their home early Sunday.

One of the women, 39, died; the other, 36, was released Monday from Harborview Medical Center.

The attacker, who entered through an open window, remained at large Monday.

The couple, whom officials haven't identified, "were just about to get married," said neighbor Christine Cherif.

Seattle police through most of Monday continued to call the attack random, but officials Monday night said it's too early to rule out a hate crime and that the sexual-minority task force has taken an interest in the case.

Interim Police Chief John Diaz said the 3 a.m. attack at the house in the 700 block of South Rose Street was the most brutal crime he and his officers have seen in some time and vowed to put every available resource into catching the man.

Detectives will be able to catch him through "science, good police work and community," Diaz said, and urged anyone with information to call detectives at 206-684-5550, or King County Crime Stoppers at 206-343-2020. Tips can also be texted to "crimes" (274637).

Police on Monday night released a description and sketch of the suspect.

He was described as black, in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, with a thin, muscular build and a thin mustache. Police spoke generally, and offered no details about the investigation.

Residents at Monday's meeting were tense and emotional, and many said they were scared. "People are still kind of numb," Cherif said.

Next-door neighbor Jane Hudson was in tears as the meeting wrapped up.

"I'm still in shock," she said.

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Last year, the woman who was slain had joined the board of directors of the Compass Center, a social-service agency that helps low-income and homeless people find housing and other services.

Rick Friedhoff, the center's executive director, said she threw herself into activities, heading up a Christmas effort to give gifts to 40 occupants of Hammond House, a women's shelter on South Washington Street. Friedhoff described her as "a person who is extremely compassionate and dedicated and really believed in the common good." Board member Bob Kuehn called her death "a huge, huge loss."

"I just don't even want to think about it, it hurts that bad," he said.

Phillip Lucas: 206-515-5632 or plucas@seattletimes.com; Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com.

Staff reporter Charles E. Brown contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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