Christian Soto: Illinois man who killed 4 and injured 7 in stabbing spree was 'paranoid after drug usage'

Christian Soto: Illinois man who killed 4 and injured 7 in stabbing spree was 'paranoid after drug usage'
Christian Soto, 22, has been arrested and charged with multiple counts (WIFR video screengrab)

ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS: The identities of the four fatalities in the horrific Illinois stabbing rampage on Wednesday, March 27 have been released.

According to reports, suspect Christian Soto, 22, told police he started killing people, starting with his friend Jacob Schupbach and his mother Romona, after developing paranoia while smoking marijuana with his friend.

At a press conference on Thursday, March 28, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, who was obviously shaken and had difficulty holding back his tears, named the victims as Romona Schupbach, 63; Jacob Schupbach, 23; Jay Larson, 49; and Jenna Newcomb, 15.

Four people have received treatment and released from the hospital, leaving three still there. 

Christian Soto 'became paranoid after the drug usage'

A statement from Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd said Soto committed the attacks on his own, though investigators are still figuring out the motive. She mentioned that Soto and Schupbach were childhood friends.

Soto told police that he thought the drugs that Jacob had given him were laced with an unidentified drug, according to Winnebago County State's Attorney J Hanley. The two had been smoking marijuana at Schupbach's house, as reported by Mirror.

He continued, "Soto said he became paranoid after the drug usage. He said he retrieved a knife from the kitchen ... and proceeded to stab" his friend and his friend’s mother to death.

The attacks happened quickly on Wednesday after 1 pm in a neighborhood of ranch-style homes. According to authorities, the time between the first 911 call and Soto's apprehension was less than twenty minutes.

The timeline showed a horrifying series of events that began with Jacob Schupbach and his mother Romona being found dead at their Holmes Street residence.

Witnesses claimed to have seen Schupbach being attacked and pursued before the attacker left the area.

Jay Larson, a local mail carrier for many years, was discovered repeatedly stabbed in a front yard on Winnetka Drive, adding to the violence. Authorities said that Larson tragically died soon after from his wounds.

Christian Soto faces several charges

Another incident involving a mother and her adult children being attacked by a knife-wielding intruder was reported on Cleveland Avenue, which is close by.

The mayhem continued as Soto broke into a neighboring house on Florence Street, killing 15-year-old Jenna Newcomb and seriously hurting her sister and friend.

"Jenna's mom wants the community to know that Jenna died saving her sister and her friend and protecting them from further harm," Mayor McNamara said at the news conference.

Following the crazed stabbing spree, Soto has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, according to a statement released by the authorities on Thursday, March 28.


Soto is also charged with seven counts of attempted murder and home invasion with a dangerous weapon.

He is being held without bond after making a brief court appearance on Thursday afternoon. April 2 is his next scheduled court date, when a judge will determine whether to keep him in custody until his trial.

Rockford, a city with a population of 150,000, has experienced a surge in violent crime rates, exacerbated by the Civid-19 pandemic.

Mayor McNamara expressed deep grief and anger at the brutal attacks, urging the focus to be on the victims and their families. Despite a decrease in overall violent crime last year, the number of murders has increased.

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