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Shoreline mourns ‘tragic loss’ of professor stabbed to death in Pioneer Square

Troy Wolff, a faculty member at Shoreline Community College, died after being stabbed in an apparently random attack late Friday while walking with his girlfriend in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle.(Daniel Berman photo via Shoreline Community College)

UPDATES below suspect information and bail after court appearance today.

The Shoreline Community College family is mourning the loss of a faculty member for the second time this summer.

English professor Troy Wolff died after being stabbed in an apparently random attack in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle.

Wolff and his girlfriend Kristin Ito went to the Seattle Sounders FC match Friday night at CenturyLink Field. He posted a picture on his Facebook page from the match with the caption “Cheap seats, great match.”

After the match, Wolff and Ito were confronted by a man carrying a small knife as they walked near Third Avenue South and South Jackson Street.

Police say the man began stabbing Ito and when Wolff intervened, the man turned and began stabbing him. Wolff died early Saturday morning. Ito’s condition has improved to stable.

Seattle police say a 44-year-old man was arrested at the scene, still holding a knife, for investigation of homicide. Police say he told detectives he is schizophrenic and that Wolff “was a member of a group trying to kill him.”

A judge Monday afternoon set bail for Donnell Jackson at $2 million.

They say the attack appeared to be unprovoked and the suspect doesn’t know Wolff or Ito.

Earlier this month the Seattle City Council held a public hearing about crime in the Pioneer Square area.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart said his wife is too concerned about downtown Seattle crime to come to the County Courthouse to meet him after work.

Seattle Police added patrols to the Pioneer Square area following the fatal stabbing.

“This is an unbelievably tragic loss,” says Daryl Campbell, interim president of Shoreline Community College. “Troy was loved by students, loved by his fellow faculty members, loved by all who knew him.”

Wolff was chair of the English Department and Kathie Hunt, Interim Dean of Humanities, said the loss will always be felt.

“A college is like a quilt, all the patches fitting together,” Kathie Hunt, Dean of Humanities says in a statement. “Troy was a very big piece of our quilt. Eventually, we’ll figure out a way to mend it, but it will never be the same.”

Wolff started as part-time instructor at Shoreline in 1996 and became a full-time professor in 2001. There are many pictures on the 46-year-old’s Facebook page from trips to Costa Rica, Spain, Greece, and Turkey where he taught.

He also wrote a book called “Seattle and King County: Gateway to the Pacific Northwest, and Seattle: The Emerald City.”

The Shoreline community has already been shaken by the death of another faculty member. Erin Walker, an academic advisor in the International Education Program, was in a fatal car accident in July in Idaho.

In that case, police say an 18-year-old driver crossed the center line striking Walker’s car and killing her at the scene.

“Now tragedy strikes again,” Campbell says. “I know our people are strong, dedicated and will come together for support, but this is awfully difficult for everyone.”


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