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Woman survives knife attack by date, who dies after police use Taser

Erich Stelzer
Erich StelzerYouTube

COHASSET — It started like countless other dates: on Tinder, the popular dating app. That’s how Erich Stelzer, a 25-year-old Cohasset resident, is said to have connected last week with a 24-year-old woman.

It ended Thursday night, law enforcement officials say, when police officers were called to Stelzer’s house around 10 p.m. and found him repeatedly stabbing the young woman.

Officers used tasers as part of their efforts to subdue Stelzer, who was then treated by EMTs but became unresponsive on the way to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to a statement Friday by Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s office. The hospital was not identified.

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Attempts to reach Stelzer’s family for comment weren’t successful Friday, but his father, Harry Stelzer, posted a photo of his smiling son as an infant to Facebook and said he was overcome with grief. “My Son. Killed by Cops. Here comes the cover up,” he wrote.

Cohasset Police Chief William P. Quigley referred all questions to the Norfolk district attorney’s office.

In its statement, Morrissey’s office said that when officers responded to a report of a disturbance at 13 Church St., where Stelzer was living, they saw him “actively assaulting a 24-year-old woman with weapons including a knife. . . . The female victim sustained extensive stabbing and slashing injuries. In an effort to rescue the victim and disarm Stelzer, Cohasset police officers used tasers to subdue Stelzer.”

Prosecutors said the woman “was able to escape from Stelzer and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.”

The woman’s condition wasn’t immediately available, and officials did not disclose her name. An autopsy will determine the cause and manner of Stelzer’s death.

An official with knowledge of the case said Stelzer and the woman met last week on Tinder, a dating app used by millions of people nationwide. Representatives for Tinder couldn’t be reached for comment.

Harry Stelzer wrote on Facebook that he learned of his son’s death the night before.

“There was a [violent] confrontation at his house last nite,” the elder Stelzer wrote. “Police came and tased him 4 times. 4 times. He died on the way to the hospital. 25 years old. He was my life. This is not over. Let me bury my dead and then the show begins. Rest In Peace my son. Love you for ever. I am hurting.”

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Last January, a bearded, burly Erich Stelzer posted to his Facebook page a photo of himself in workout clothes. A few months later, he posted a message quoting from Aaron Lewis’s song “Country Boy.”

“Now two flags fly above my land that really sum up how I feel,” Erich Stelzer wrote. “One is the colors that fly high and proud; the red, the white, the blue, The other one’s gotta rattlesnake with a simple statement made,... don’t tread on me is what it says and that’s exactly how I feel.”

Morrissey’s office declined to comment on the case beyond its statement.

There was no visible police presence Friday evening at the duplex-style home where the alleged attack occurred. No one answered the door. Electric holiday candles in the window were dark.

Mary Burnieika, 48, who lives two doors down from Stelzer’s home, said she did not know him or his mother well.

“I’m just sad that whatever happened happened,” she said. “It’s just awful.”

Dan Tarpey, 63, who lives in the neighborhood, said it was a “huge surprise to look out last night and see the emergency lights.”

Although Tarpey did not know Stelzer, he said he passes by the Church Street home every day when walking his dog.

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“It’s a very quiet neighborhood,” he said.

Because of a editing error, Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey was misidentified in an earlier version of this article.


Danny McDonald and Emily Sweeney of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.