Hundreds mourn at vigil for victims of Idaho birthday party attack

A three-year-old Idaho girl who was stabbed at her birthday party died Monday, two days after a man invaded the celebration and attacked nine people with a knife, authorities said.

Suspect charged with 1st-degree murder following child's death; 8 others injured

Lila Cabrera, who teaches English to refugees, hugs Kibrom Milash, after his comments to a crowd of people, as they gathered for a vigil at City Hall in Boise, Idaho, Monday, for victims of a stabbing attack on Saturday. A three-year-old girl who was stabbed at her birthday party died Monday. (Darin Oswald/Associated Press)

A three-year-old Idaho girl who was stabbed at her birthday party died Monday, two days after a man invaded the celebration and attacked nine people with a knife, authorities said.

Timmy Kinner is accused of stabbing a group of children and the adults who tried to protect them at the party at an apartment complex that is home to many refugee families.

Police arrested Timmy Kinner, 30, in connection with Saturday night's attack. (Ada County Sheriff's Office via Reuters)

Word of the child's death came at Kinner's first court appearance, where Ada County Magistrate Judge Russell Comstock told him that he was charged with first-degree murder and other felonies in connection with the Saturday night attack.

Comstock told Kinner he was "an extreme danger to the community" and ordered him held without bond.

Victims are refugees

Kinner is American, and the victims are members of refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia. Boise Police Chief William Bones said the evidence does not suggest the attack was a hate crime.

The suspect had recently stayed at the apartment complex but was asked to leave Friday over bad behaviour, Bones said.

Fathi Mahamoud, 11, left, Esrom Habte, 12, centre, and Thado Aip describe the stabbing attack on nine residents of their apartment complex, mostly children. (Rebecca Boone/Associated Press)

The 30-year-old appeared in court through closed-circuit video, a common practice for first appearances in Idaho. Wearing a tattered off-white sweatshirt with his arms shackled to his waist, Kinner told the judge he didn't understand the charges or proceedings. He also said he wanted to represent himself.

The judge ordered that he be appointed a public defender anyway.

"I can't explain the charges any more clearly than I just did," he told Kinner.

1,500 at vigil

Three of the stabbing victims were adults, the others children: the three-year-old girl who died, two four-year-olds, a six-year-old, an eight-year-old and a 12-year-old.

If convicted, Kinner could be eligible for execution under Idaho law. Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts said her office has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty, saying those "high-level decisions" are made only after all the facts are in.

Marisol Avelar adds a bouquet of white flowers to a growing pile during the vigil. (Darin Oswald/Associated Press)

Monday evening roughly 1,500 people turned out at a vigil honouring members of refugee families targeted in the stabbing.

People wept, sang and shouted their support for the refugee community, and many brought bouquets of white flowers intended to symbolize peace. By the end of the rally, hundreds of bouquets filled dozens of baskets on the steps of Boise's City Hall.

'We are all immigrants'

But community leaders told the crowd that what the survivors really need is money to cover rapidly growing medical bills and space at home to try to overcome the constant sense of unease they've experienced since the attack. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and others urged community members to do what they can to help.

Signs were dotted throughout the crowd, some reading "love wins" and "we are all immigrants."

Younis Kamel, a 16-year-old who moved to Boise from Iraq, and his 23-year-old sister Zuzu Kamel held up a more poignant sign:

"I will never forget seeing my friend getting stabbed in front of me," the sign read. Younis Kamel was at the apartment complex the night of the attack.

'Justice for Teeba'

Another woman held a sign reading "Justice for Teeba," with a photo of a young child in a hospital bed, a breathing tube obscuring part of his face with half a dozen other tubes and medical devices connected to his body.

People listen to a speaker during the vigil. (Darin Oswald/Associated Press)

Louai Nasri, who also lives in the apartment complex, held up a large poster of a young girl dressed in an ornately embroidered shirt and hat. In the photo she is standing in front of a Disney Princess-themed banner and gesturing to a pink, doll-shaped birthday cake.

The picture is of Ruya Kadir, the 3-year-old girl whose birthday party was attacked. Nasri said she was a friend of his son's.

Members of refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia were among the injured. (Meiying Wu/Idaho Statesman via Associated Press)