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Community mourns UC Davis senior stabbed to death on way home from award ceremony

Slain UC Davis student mourned
Slain UC Davis student mourned 03:14

DAVIS - Many people in Davis are mourning after the second deadly stabbing within three days of each other. Officials identified the victim in Saturday night's stabbing as 20-year-old Karim Abou-Najim.

Karim was a senior at UC Davis who was supposed to graduate in just 10 days with a degree in computer science. 

Family told CBS13 that Karim was a brilliant young man, but now his life has been cut short. He was riding his bike home after receiving an award for his research work when he was stabbed to death in Sycamore Park. 

"I think it's unfair for anyone's life to be taken, but especially someone who has their future ahead of them, and they are so young," said recent UC Davis graduate Karan Brar. 

Karim was killed less than a mile away from his home. 

"It is weird to think I have traveled that path probably 100 times, and tragedy can happen anywhere," said UC Davis senior Megan Acarregui. 

Family friends told CBS13 that Karim already had a full-time job lined up with Audible at Amazon. He was also doing research to create glasses for the blind. 

"He was a really great guy. He was really intelligent, did research, had a really great future and he wanted to move to New York as well," said UC Davis senior Kristin Mifsud, who had friends who knew Karim well.

Now, many UC Davis students fear for their own safety. 

"Everyone's really scared, I have seen a lot on social media that no one even wants to go to school," said Mifsud. "Murders don't really happen here, especially with such a tragic circumstance." 

Sycamore Park is less than a mile away from UC Davis. It is surrounded by neighborhoods and an elementary school. 

"I was actually shocked because I was just here last Sunday with my granddaughters, and I have taken them regularly to play here at Sycamore Park," said Rafael Gacel-Sinclair who lives near the park. 

"He had so many honors. He was going to a bright future, and it was just taken away from him," said Brar. 

This is the second deadly stabbing in less than three days. David Breaux, 50,  well known in the community for preaching compassion, was stabbed to death in Central Park on Thursday. 

"I did not expect my senior year for any of this to be happening, especially in Davis," Mifsud said. 

A community is now grieving not one, but two victims of stabbings. 

"It does not matter if you are a man or a woman, both of these people were men," said Gacel-Sinclair. "People just have to be more vigilant."

A family is now planning a funeral for Karim instead of a celebration for his future. 

"We are still kids and still very naïve," said Acarregui. "We go around and think we are unbreakable, but one moment later, it could be the end. We all just have today." 

Davis police do have a person of interest and arrested one man on unrelated charges. It is still too soon to tell if this stabbing at Sycamore Park has any connection to the stabbing in Central Park. 

If you know anything about either of the two stabbings, call Davis police. 

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