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A teen girl saving her sister and a local post office legend: Who are the victims of Illinois stabbing attack?

A 15-year-old girl died saving her sister and friend, a veteran mailman was stabbed to death on the street he had served for years, and a young man and his mother were stabbed to death in their home – all in one horrific 20-minute killing spree, allegedly by one man, in Rockford, Illinois on Wednesday.

Christian Soto, 22, is now facing multiple charges including four of first degree murder.

A warning that some readers may find details in this story distressing.

According to charging documents which outline Mr Soto’s initial interview with police, the attack began at the home of a friend, who he was smoking marijuana with.

Mr Soto reportedly told officers that the weed had been laced with some kind of “unknown narcotic”, which made him paranoid.

He then went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and began stabbing his friend, a 23-year-old man, and his friend’s mother, who was 63, documents allege.

Christian Soto is accused of multiple counts of murder (Rockford Police)
Christian Soto is accused of multiple counts of murder (Rockford Police)

As he fled the property, Mr Soto reportedly attacked a postal worker with a knife and his pickup truck, before beating a 15-year-old girl, Jenna Newcomb, to death in her bedroom while her sister and friend were hit too.

“Jenna’s mom wants the community to know that Jenna died saving her sister and her friend and protecting them from further harm,” Mayor Tom McNamara said on Thursday.

Mr Soto is then accused of heading to two other homes, first attacking a mother and her two children before stabbing and wounding a woman at another address.

She fled, and he allegedly followed and stabbed her in the street. A “Good Samaritan” intervened and was injured before police arrived and arrested the suspect.

The timeline for the attack was laid out at the briefing on Thursday morning by State Attorney J. Hanley.

Jacob and Romona Schupbach

Mr Soto reportedly told officers that the incident began after he smoked marijuana with his friend Jacob Schupbach at an address on Holmes Street, but said the drug was laced with some sort of narcotic.

Emergency services at the scene of one of the attacks (AP)
Emergency services at the scene of one of the attacks (AP)

He then became paranoid, he said, and went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife, before stabbing his friend, who was 23, and his mother Romona Schupbach, 63.

At one point, Jacob ran outside, followed by Mr Soto who was reportedly seen by a neighbour hitting or stabbing the victim with an unknown black object. Jacob then ran back inside, while the suspect fled the scene.

When police arrived at the home, they found the mother and son dead.

Later, Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd said that it was believed Mr Soto had known Jacob since they were young and that they had grown up in the same neighbourhood.

Veteran mailman Jay Larson

Mr Soto then apparently told officers that as he fled the scene of the first attack, he recalled “taking out the mailman”.

United States Postal Service worker Jay Larson was stabbed multiple times on nearby Winnetka Drive.

A witness saw the mailman being attacked out of his window.

“He said he opened his front door to hear the mailman yelling for him to call the police,” Mr Hanley told reporters.

Mr Soto reportedly then began to walk towards the witness’ home, so he closed the door and dialed 911.

“He watched the subject walk back to a black pickup truck nearby and retrieve a knife from the vehicle. He described the knife as being distinctive due to it having an orange handle,” Mr Hanley said.

After allegedly stabbing Mr Larson, Mr Soto got back into his car and ran the postal worker over, twice.

The 49-year-old later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

Ruth Mendoza, from the US Postal Inspection Service in Chicago, said Mr Larson had been with the USPS for over two decades.

“This tragedy while Jay was doing his job, like many of us were at that exact time,” Ms Mendoza said. “Jay was doing what he loved: serving his community, delivering mail to customers that he has served for 25 years.”

The USPS will be carrying out its own investigation and federal charges may follow because of Mr Larson’s job.

Jenna Newcomb was watching a movie with her friend

After this, Mr Soto is said to have broken into a home on Cleveland Avenue.

One of three teenage girls in the house at the time, named SDN in charging documents, heard the break-in and managed to get down to the basement where her sister Jenna Newcomb, 15, and her friend, referred to as KIA, were watching a movie on a laptop.

Mr Soto allegedly then came downstairs into Jenna’s bedroom, covered in blood, and holding her softball bat.

“He called them ‘b*****s’ and asked where the gun was,” Mr Hanley said, becoming visibly emotional.

“The girls ran to the corner of the bedroom and he started swinging the bat, striking all of the victims.”

KIA curled up in the foetal position while Jenna was struck a few times and collapsed, the States Attorney said, with the suspect then running out saying he was going to find a gun.

KIA then managed to get outside and flag down first responders, but it was too late for Jenna.

When he was arrested, Mr Soto reportedly said he recalled attacking the girls.

Mother and children attacked

Next, Mr Hanley said, Mr Soto broke into another home on Cleveland Avenue.

As a woman opened her door to put her dog outside, the suspect forced his way in and stabbed her in the face, before attacking her two children.

All three survived but needed treatment in hospital.

Woman flees and Good Samaritan intervenes

Mr Soto reportedly then ran to another home on Florence Street and Eggleston Road, attacking a woman who fled into the street.

The suspect chased after her, stabbing her multiple times before a passing driver, referred to as a “Good Samaritan”, stopped and tried to intervene.

Mr Soto allegedly stabbed him, too, before trying to take the man’s vehicle. It was at this point the police arrived and arrested the suspect.

Officials said the woman was in a stable condition in hospital.

Law enforcement personnel work at the scene of one of the attacks (AP)
Law enforcement personnel work at the scene of one of the attacks (AP)

Christian Soto is facing four first degree murder charges, as well as multiple attempted murder charges and two home invasion charges.

Despite Mr Soto’s statements, the State Attorney said that the suspect was presumed innocent unless or until he is found guilty by a jury or court of law.