A transient from San Francisco with an extremely violent past was arrested in connection with an apparently random and savage stabbing Monday morning in Santa Cruz that killed a woman, police said Tuesday.
Just before noon, police said, 43-year-old Charles Anthony Edwards III viciously and suddenly attacked a 38-year-old Santa Cruz business owner whom he had never met.
Shannon Collins, reportedly the owner of a lingerie and adult store in downtown Santa Cruz, was killed for no apparent reason and in front of numerous witnesses in the 300 block of Broadway.
Collins had been walking to a hairdresser, friends told the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
“It appears as though this was a senseless, unprovoked and random attack by Mr. Edwards upon an innocent victim,” Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend said Tuesday. “There is no clear motive.”
Police quickly found Edwards, a convicted felon, about a block away from the scene of the attack. He was clutching to a knife and had blood splattered all over his clothing, according to police and news reports. He was said to be in the process of trying to discard evidence.
Edwards, who police believe had only been in Santa Cruz for about a week, did not resist arrest. He was “extensively interviewed” by investigators before being booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on murder charges about 9 p.m. Monday.
He is being held in lieu of $875,000 bail.
State Department of Justice officials helped process the crime scene Monday, police said.
Investigators were busy Tuesday conducting photo lineups with the “high number of witnesses” to the attack, Friend said.
The random killing has stunned the city, where a murder hasn’t occurred in more than a year. Friends and city officials mourned Collins’ death Tuesday. Friends described her as a loving, caring person who enjoyed reading, gardening and cooking, according to the Sentinel. She and her husband, Kenny, purchased their downtown store, Camouflage, in 2006, the newspaper reported.
Police described Collins as a “well-respected downtown business owner and community member.”