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Christmas Eve stabbing death 2nd in Santa Rosa in 14 months

  • A man was stabbed to death late on Christmas Eve in the alley behind the public library in downtown Santa Rosa, seen Wednesday afternoon. (Conner Jay / PD)

A man was found stabbed to death late Christmas Eve near the downtown Santa Rosa library, and a suspect is in custody, police said Wednesday.

Santa Rosa police responded to a 10:45 p.m. call about a body in the rear alley of the library on E Street. Soon after arriving, officers and medical personnel found a man's body in the alley. The man already was dead and had suffered multiple stab wounds, police reported.

“He didn't survive,” said Sgt. Eric Litchfield of the Santa Rosa Police Department. “There's no ID released yet, pending notification of the family.”

Officers shut down much of the surrounding area on Third, Fourth and E streets late Tuesday night, and began to canvas the area looking for potential witnesses and suspects.

Russian River Brewing Co. had closed early and had police officers inside, and several squad cars and a fire ladder truck were stationed inside the scene.

Then a man was found nearby with blood on his clothing and hands, carrying a bloody knife, police said.

The suspect, Vladimir Sotelo-Urena, 26, admitted to stabbing the victim multiple times and was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of homicide, police said. They identified Sotelo-Urena as a transient.

There are no outstanding suspects, police said.

On Christmas morning, the scene around the library was quiet, with nothing amiss except for fresh bright-pink spray paint used by investigators to mark the scene on the loading dock steps behind the library and on the asphalt.

Litchfield said police are often busy dealing with crimes during the holidays, but he could only remember a few homicides that happened over Christmas in the past 20 years.

“The city doesn't stop just because it's the holidays,” he said.

The homicide is the first in downtown Santa Rosa since 24-year-old homeless woman Michela Wooldridge was stabbed to death and left on a Fourth Street sidewalk near McDonald Avenue on Nov. 1, 2012.

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