Honoring Davis’s Citizen Heroes
May 08, 2023
By Roberta Millstein
As we all grieve and process the events that led to the arrest of Carlos Reales Dominguez, who has been charged with two counts of premeditated murder and one count of premeditated attempted murder, I thought it was important to highlight the role of some of our citizen heroes whose efforts, I believe, were essential to the arrest.
Most of them also put their own lives at risk to help their fellow citizens. They showed not only compassion but the willingness to follow through and act. Such selflessness is deserving of our highest praise.
These are all quotes from various Davis Enterprise articles; links have been included for reference. (While I am giving praise, I’d also like to thank the Davis Enterprise for its outstanding, thorough, and speedy coverage throughout. Now is a good time to subscribe and support local news if you don't already).
Thursday, April 27:
Thursday’s homicide — the city’s first in more than three years — came to light at about 11:20 a.m., when a passerby called police seeking a welfare check on a man seated on a bench on the north side of the downtown park, near a large playground area.
Saturday, April 29:
a resident reported hearing “what sounded like a disturbance,” Pytel said.
That resident, who asked not to be identified out of concern for his safety, told The Davis Enterprise in an interview he was in his bedroom when he heard a man cry out for help, followed by a commotion, shortly after 9 p.m.
He walked toward the park to investigate and saw two people on the ground along a bike path on the park’s side, thinking two cyclists had collided along the darkened path.
“As I got closer I put my flashlight on on my phone and asked if they were OK,” he said. At that point, one of the people stood up, grabbed a white hat and a bike and started to leave westbound on the path toward the Highway 113 bike bridge.
Confused as to why someone would leave a collision scene, “I chased him for a bit,” the man said. “I got within about 10 feet of him and he said, ‘What do you want, man? Leave me alone.’ ” He had turned his head to the side, allowing the witness to see his profile.
The person “sounded like a kid” in his late teens or early 20s, said the man, who stopped chasing him at that point. That’s when he turned around and saw the victim, who was covered in blood.
“He was not conscious. He was having problems breathing,” said the man, who called 911 and immediately started CPR after removing the victim’s backpack, which was already partially removed.
As he delivered chest compressions, a woman who’d also heard the victim’s cries for help arrived on scene and lifted his legs to direct his blood flow toward his torso.
“ ‘Come on, buddy — you’re going to be OK,’ ” the man recalled telling the victim.
Monday, May 1
Isaac Chessman and Christine Berrios, an unhoused couple whose tent neighbored the victim’s, said they awoke Monday night to rustling sounds, followed by their friend, Kim, screaming for help.
“He’s on me! Help! Get off me! The guy with the curly hair!” she yelled. Another neighbor, Larry, lunged at the suspect through his own tent and knocked him to the ground, but he was able to flee, the couple said.
Kim remained coherent following the assault, which Berrios said left her with wounds to her hip area.
Chessman believes he spotted the suspect earlier that night, lurking behind the trees on the east side of L street across from the homeless camp.
He said he called out to the person while shining a flashlight on him, saying “you look like the dude that’s been stabbing people.” Chessman noted he also called police, about two hours before the stabbing, but got no response.
“This has to happen for them to show up,” he said.
Wednesday, May 3
a man walking through Sycamore Park spotted him sitting alone on the children’s playground.
With shoulder-length wavy hair, and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black Adidas track pants, he bore a strong resemblance to the suspect seen fleeing the L Street stabbing scene.
“He made eye contact with me and came toward me rather briskly,” said the witness, who asked to remain anonymous. He said he backed off at that point but “kept an eye on him” as Dominguez wandered through the park, then through the neighborhood east of it.
“He was walking around sort of aimlessly, which I though was odd,” said the witness, who continued following the person from a distance to The Marketplace shopping center, where he briefly lost sight of him. Dominguez later emerged from a store and walked back toward the park area.
The witness said he called police multiple times as he tracked Dominguez, ultimately flagging down an officer heading westbound on Villanova Drive toward the park. Dominguez began walking more briskly at that point but never tried to run.
Thank you for shining a light on these outstanding citizens and their heroic actions. Without them, I am next to positive there would have been additional attacks. I am so grateful to them, and to the Davis Enterprise for its accurate, thorough and timely reporting (subscriber 30+ years!).
Posted by: Janet Krovoza | May 08, 2023 at 06:00 PM
Thanks for this.
In regards to "... homicide...", yes, the last "homicides" were of the man killing his mother and in turn getting killed by the police in December 2019.
But this for me obfuscates the other non-natural causes deaths in Davis or with Davis-people in recent years, including a UCD garbage truck running over a student, a community member crashing his car on Old Davis Rd under I-80, three students killed while driving on I-99 by a wrong way driver, a few more deaths perhaps due to suicide or various misadventure.
I'm not arguing that "homicide" is not a different legal definition, but that it likely has some at least subconscious conflation with all kind of non-natural causes death -- my point is that many of these other deaths could have prevented and perhaps even more so that there were no major protests, celebrations of lives etc. I hate the word "tragedy": All are very sad. But we're very selective in taking blame or showing we care. It seems clear to me that Mr Dominguez suffered greatly from his whole life being upended - even if he had choices to prevent this - and I've confirmed some murmur of possible missing support which would have helped, but nothing more public... certainly little is expected from UCD officials here as they "postvention" everything into generalized oblivion, or City officials which seem to worship the Chancellor and his team, at least publicly.
So perhaps some precise term like "knife-related death" would be more precise, even though ultimately it's both intention (of a "murderer") and political and societal neglect that are the relevant goals to highlight and deconstruct.
Posted by: Tuvia ben Sima Rivka ve Avraham Aharon | May 08, 2023 at 07:46 PM
Lauren Keene kicked ass in reporting this story. She had the details from the news conference posted on the Enterprise site before they even came out of Pytel's mouth.
I was on campus doing an event with a group of students on the Sunday just after the second murder. Afterward, some of the student group leaders were talking about the murders and one student said, "Let me check the Enterprise, they are the only ones that are really reporting on this". Can you imagine that in 2023, UCD students are finding the best source of timely information on a City crises is the local newspaper?!?!! Hurrah!
Posted by: Alan C. Miller | May 08, 2023 at 07:50 PM