Witnesses to the horrific fatal stabbing last month of 22-year-old Deane Kenny Stryker inside the Winchester Public Library made frantic 911 calls to report the attack and plead for help, according to chilling audio released Wednesday.
“This is the library, this is the library,” one caller said. “Somebody is stabbing someone. Please come, hurry . . . Hurry!”
The killer, prosecutors say, was 23-year-old Jeffrey Yao, a local man with a history of mental illness who allegedly stabbed Stryker 20 times. He’s being held without bail for murder. The call recordings were released by Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office.
“He stabbed a woman in the back,” another caller said.
“He just stabbed a woman in the back?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yes,” the woman replied.
The dispatcher asked what the suspect looked like, and the second caller said, “I think they’ve got him cornered.”
“Listen,” the dispatcher replied with an edge in her voice. “What does he look like?”
“I’m trying, I’m sorry,” the caller said while short of breath. “There’s somebody helping her. . . . There’s, he’s got a gray sweatshirt, I think, Asian, short dark hair.”
She also asked the dispatcher, “Is somebody on the way, please?”
Told police were en route, the woman later sounded distraught as she reported Stryker’s condition.
“She’s lying down on her back,” the woman said. “Oh my God, there is a lot of blood.”
The dispatcher alerted police to an “unconscious female with stab wounds” and said the suspect, later identified as Yao, “is disarmed; parties have him held.”
“We need an ambulance and police,” a third young male caller said, adding that Yao remained in the library. “He’s got his hands up. . . . He’s got like a gray hoodie on, he’s kneeling down, he’s got his hands up.”
The man continued, “We’re just waiting here for the police. . . . Come as soon as you can.”
Asked if he worked at the library, the man said, “No, I’m just here studying, and this lady got [expletive] stabbed.”
He said Yao was in the back of the library.
“It’s safe in here, just come in the library,” the man said. “Look, this lady got stabbed.”
As the seconds ticked away, the man grew more agitated.
“They’re not here yet; we need someone in here,” the man said. “I don’t know if they’re, like, being cautious at the entrance.”
Immediately after that statement, the man reported that police were in the library and “they’re getting the guy. . . . The lady’s on the ground.”
Asked if he witnessed the attack, the man said, “No, I just heard the girl yell and then . . . [inaudible] a little freaked out, so yeah.”
Prosecutors say Yao stabbed Stryker with a 10-inch hunting knife inside the library on the morning of Feb. 24. He also allegedly stabbed a 77-year-old man in the arm after the man tried to intervene.
Yao’s lawyer has said that his mental illness “unquestionably” played a role in the attack.
Also Wednesday, Ryan’s office released radio communications between first responders including police, fire officials, and paramedics who rushed to the gruesome scene.
“This is pretty severe,” one responder said of Stryker’s wounds.
There was initial confusion about the number of victims, with another official reporting that as many as four people were hurt.
“We have three or four victims?” the dispatcher asked.
“Affirmative,” the official said, before quickly amending the tally to just two people hurt including Stryker.
A police officer later informed dispatch that he was taking Yao to the station for booking.
“I have that party,” the officer said calmly. “I’m gonna bring him in.”
“I have that,” the dispatcher replied.
Another police officer said they would need detectives and crime scene photographers.
“We need detectives in here,” the officer said. “We need some photograph in here, ASAP.”
At one point, dispatch contacted paramedics to see when they were getting to the library.
“Our officers are just looking for an ETA,” the dispatcher said.
“We’re on arrival now, on scene,” a paramedic replied.
Also during the transmissions, an officer said he was headed to the Stryker family address to make a notification.
Another officer informed dispatch that he was outside Yao’s home on Farrow Street to conduct a well-being check on his family.
“No cars in the driveway; I’ll check the house if possible,” one officer said. “I have an unlocked side door.”
The officer later reported that the house was empty.
“Nobody appears to be home at this time,” he said. “I’m just going to do a quick outside perimeter.”
An officer later reported information he received from neighbors.
“They said the last time they saw anybody here was about two hours ago,” the officer told dispatch shortly after 11:30 a.m. “The stove was on; I shut that off. I’ll be clear from here.”
An officer later reported there was a vehicle in the Yao family driveway, and he said he wouldn’t require another unit at the house.
“This is for notification, I guess,” the officer said. “To let them know, make sure they’re OK.”Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.