Eyewitness describes arrest after child stabbed to death
The man suspected of stabbing a young girl to death and severely injuring another girl and a woman was booked into jail Friday afternoon on suspicion of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder, according to online inmate records at the Sedgwick County Jail.
Hassan L. Wright, 47, is also being held on suspicion of three counts of aggravated kidnapping, records show. Authorities booked him on the six felony counts at 3:04 p.m. No bond amount was immediately listed.
He’s also being held on a state arrest and detain warrant, jail records show.
The booking charges stem from a triple stabbing that spanned across Wichita Friday morning. One girl died, Wichita police have said. Another was found walking out of a field with stab wounds near 77th North and Ridge on Friday. Wichita police said the two girls are thought to be sisters, but their relationship with the woman in surgery is still unknown.
Sgt. Nikki Woodrow of the Wichita Police Department said a girl between 5 and 7 years old died after receiving multiple stab wounds. She was found in a red Jeep at Lincoln and Oliver with a woman in her mid-20s who was reported to be in surgery with multiple stab wounds Friday.
At around 6:40 a.m. Friday, a 911 call led police to what was described as an accident in a parking lot at Lincoln and Oliver. An employee had arrived at a business and found that a Jeep had collided with a van; the van had no occupants.
Emergency workers found two occupants – the woman and the child – with multiple stab wounds. Sue Burchill, spokeswoman for Wesley Medical Center, said the woman was in critical condition Friday afternoon.
Shortly before 10 a.m., Wichita police said they apprehended Wright in relation to the crimes. Wright’s relationship to the stabbing victims is still unclear.
Police previously sought out a second man in connection with the case, but later said he was no longer a person of interest. Woodrow said midday Friday that the police department was not searching for other suspects in the case.
Woodrow said someone called 911 and said Wright was in the area around 55th South and Broadway. Police took him into custody and took him in for questioning, she said.
About two hours after the call at Lincoln and Oliver, Woodrow said police received a call about the second young girl, between the ages of 4 and 6, who was found in the northwest corner of Sedgwick County.
The girl appears to have been stabbed around an area under construction to create a new sand pit for a company called Mid-States Sand. A police helicopter, about a dozen police officers and four investigators remained on scene near 77th North and Ridge around 11 a.m. Friday.
Woodrow said police are dealing with a very large crime scene and still don’t know where the violence originated. The adult victim had “very major stab wounds,” and police don’t know whether she drove from 77th and Ridge, Woodrow said.
“We don’t know of any disturbance or any possible reason or motive for this crime right now,” Woodrow said.
Police said they are searching for witnesses for the three stabbings. Anyone with information should call 911 or can anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.
Wichita public schools spokeswoman Susan Arensman said district officials are currently “trying to assess” whether the juvenile stabbing victims are Wichita students. They haven’t yet been identified by police.
A check of Wright’s criminal history revealed a series of convictions for violent offenses against people, including a second-degree murder out of Wyandotte County in 1988. He is currently on post-release supervision with the Kansas Department of Corrections, the agency’s spokeswoman Brianna Landon said.
Landon said Wright was ordered to serve 15 years to life in prison for the 1988 killing and an aggravated battery but was paroled to Sedgwick County in January 2005. He committed another violent crime – a sexually motivated aggravated battery and burglary – 11 months later, prompting a 32-month prison sentence.
Wright was 19 in February 1989 when he was convicted of second-degree murder for fatally shooting another teen outside a barbecue restaurant in Kansas City, Kan. Cornell White was killed on June 25, 1988.
According to testimony at Wright's trial, White was shot as he ran toward a car. A passenger in the car was also wounded, and Wright was also convicted of aggravated battery.
The killing occurred five days after Wright had been released from jail on bond in another shooting case in Kansas City, Mo. Two men were wounded in that 1987 incident, but a jury in 1990 acquitted Wright.
Wright was paroled on the murder charge in December 2013 and ultimately released from prison March 7, Landon said. He lives in Sedgwick County, KDOC records show.
Wright also has juvenile convictions out of Wyandotte County for criminal deprivation of property, auto burglary, felony theft, battery and aggravated assault, according to court records. He is also a registered sex offender.
If he is criminally charged in connection with Friday’s stabbings he could go back to prison on parole violations, Landon said.
Contributing: Suzanne Perez Tobias of The Eagle and Tony Rizzo of the Kansas City Star