Timmy Earl Kinner, a 30-year-old man with a multi-state criminal record, was upset he was asked to leave a Boise, Idaho apartment complex full of refugee families, so he targeted a 3-year-old child’s birthday party in a mass knife attack, wounding nine people, including six children, police say.
Tragically, the 3-year-old victim has now died. The child, Ruya Kadir, came to the U.S. two years ago from Ethiopia with her family. The child was described as a girl who loved Disney princesses and dressing up and whose family fled violence.
The stabbings, which the police chief described as involving the highest number of victims wounded in a single incident in the city’s history, occurred on the evening of June 30, 2018. The police chief said it appeared the attacker, who is also known as Timothy Kinner, struck without provocation, although the stabbings were still under investigation.
“Kinner had been granted by one of the apartment members a place to stay for a few days. Due to his behavior, he’d been asked to leave. Kinner had done so. He returned last night to exact vengeance, not just on those whom he had been with because they were not at the apartment but at any target that was available,” said Boise Police Chief William Bones. The chief said that a 3-year-old girl’s birthday party was occurring in the complex and “Kinner attacked, targeting the children initially.” The girl whose party it was had been among the most seriously injured; all of the other victims have survived.
“Preliminary evidence shows the suspect was a temporary resident at the apartment complex on Wylie Ln and State St. until he was asked to leave on Friday. The suspect, Timmy Kinner, is not a refugee,” police said in a news release on July 1, 2018.
Boise has long been known as a magnet city for refugees; in fact, a National Geographic article in 2016 called it “Boise, Idaho, A Global Home for Refugees.” According to the City of Boise, the U.S. State Department gave Boise the designation of “a Refugee Resettlement Community.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Victims Included Members of Refugee Families From Iraq, Syria & Ethiopia, the Chief Says
The police chief said the victims are ages 3, 6, 8, 12, and two age 4. The other three wounded people are adults who interceded in a bid to help the children. “We saw a killer. We didn’t want to get stabbed,” said 12-year-old Esrom Habte, who told K5News that he escaped the attack by hiding in a closet with another child.
The chief called the mass stabbings an attack on the “fabric of the community” and said the victims “are some of the newest members of our community. They’re victims from their past homes who have fled violence. They’re from Syria, Iraq, and Ethiopia.”
“Obviously this is not just an unusual instance, but it’s just something we don’t see in Boise,” Bones said. “The level of violence which occurred here. Most hard on myself as it is on any officer or first responder is when you see innocents targeted and the suffering that occurs when you see children.”
He said “it doesn’t just tug at your heart strings. It tears your heart apart.”
He said that children “from different continents” were sitting together at a small child’s birthday party when the attack occurred, and he urged people to help the Boise refugee community.
Jail records show that Kinner is now accused of multiple counts of injury to a child and aggravated battery. “Suspect, Timmy Kinner, was booked into the Ada County Jail last night on nine counts of Aggravated Battery and six counts of Injury to Child,” the news release says.
“Tonight we did have a tragedy occur,” Bones said in a news conference shortly after the attack. The mass stabbing occurred at Wylie Street Station Apartments. The victims’ identities were not disclosed.
“I would ask for our community’s hearts to go out as I know they will and for their prayers for the families of everybody that’s involved here,” the police chief said.
The first call reporting the knife attack came in to Boise police at 8:46 p.m. The caller reported a man with a knife who was attacking people at an apartment complex in Boise. Officers arrived in four minutes, the police chief said, and they took the suspect, now named as Timmy Earl Kinner, into custody at gunpoint almost immediately.
The attacker briefly fled the scene before being captured, and multiple officers responded to the scene.
Police found the victims scattered in different locations.
2. The Chief Called the Attack the Work of a ‘Single Evil Individual’ & a Facebook Page in Kinner’s Name Says He’s From ‘Streetsmart High’
Some of the victims were suffering from life-threatening injuries, although none had died in the hours immediately after the knife attack, according to Chief Bones. However, the child whose birthday party it was died a short time later. Four of the victims had life-threatening wounds, according to Boise Weekly.
A Facebook page in the name of Timothy Kinner has very little on it except a few photos and a dollar with an all-seeing eye symbol that is often associated with the Illuminati. Kinner appears to have a distinctive tear drop tattoo with an “M.” A series of other photos show him giving the middle finger to the camera. The page says he is self-employed and “went to Streetsmart High.”
“It’s a single evil individual who attacked people with no provocation that we are aware of,” said Bones. The massive law enforcement response to the scene included Idaho State Police, Boise police, and other agencies.
When officers arrived at the scene, the chief said, they found a “chaotic and tragic area in which nine members of our community had been stabbed and lay injured. People were scattered throughout the apartment complex.” People were injured in apartments and were lying in the streets and walkways, he said.
The suspect gave up without a struggle, “immediately yielding to the officers,” said Chief Bones. “This is a brutal crime.”
3. Kinner Has a Violent Criminal History That Spans Multiple States
The chief said there were many warning signs of violence in Kinner’s past. “Our suspect is a man with an extensive criminal record spanning multiple states who has spent time in prison,” Bones said, adding that some of the crimes were for violence against others.
It doesn’t appear that he was in Idaho for long. He was not from Boise and didn’t have a criminal history in Idaho, said Bones.
“He is an American not a refugee,” said Bones.
According to the police chief, the community within the apartment complex is tight-knit. “It’s had a devastating effect on the people in it,” he said of the attack.
Julianne D. Tzul, executive director of the International Rescue Committee, told K5News: “It is heartbreaking to know that people and children who fled horror of war and conflict to find safety in America and the Boise Community had to experience violence all over again.”
4. The Suspect Was Listed as Being From Los Angeles Before Coming to Boise, Which Has Been a Destination for Refugees
The police chief said that the suspect “came from out of state” but noted that he did not yet know how long the man had been in Boise, Idaho. He did not provide more details on the man. However, the police news release issued the following day gives Kinner’s previous location as Los Angeles, California. In Utah, he was listed as being a “transient” and living in a homeless shelter.
Idaho’s refugee population has come from different countries over the years but is considered significant. In the 2000s, according to Idaho Office for Refugees, “recent arrivals include a large number of individuals from Iraq, Congo, Burma, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.” The refugee population in the state has shifted over the years, beginning mostly with refugees from Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe in the 1980s.
“A large majority of refugees arriving in Idaho are women and children. Some refugees are highly educated while others have never had the opportunity to attend school. Some were freedom fighters or political activists forced into exile from their home countries; others were violently driven away,” the site explains.
In 2016, KTVB-TV reported that Boise had “welcomed in more Syrian refugees than the two largest cities in America: New York and Los Angeles.”
“At this point we haven’t lost anybody, but the injuries are very, very serious. The injuries do vary,” said the chief. He said that Boise has not had any incident before with this many victims in a single attack in the history of the department.
He said the community’s hearts go out to the victims.
According to Bones, the suspect discarded the knife as he fled the scene, but authorities retrieved it.
5. People Expressed Prayers for the Victims on Social Media
Prayers flowed on social media for the victims. “Everyone keep the victims of the stabbing in Boise in your thoughts tonight💜,” wrote one woman on Twitter. Wrote another, “I’m going to bed with the hope that the victims of tonight’s attack in Boise will be ok. I’m so sad for my community right now.”
Earlier in the day, Boise, as with many other cities throughout the United States, was the scene of a “Families Belong Together” protest at the State Capitol. That protest drew thousands of people, according to The Idaho Statesman.
In 2012, a Housing and Community Development report outlined concerns with finding refugees fair housing in Boise.