Troy Wolff, beloved and respected faculty member at Shoreline Community College, has died after being stabbed in an apparently random attack late Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 while walking in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle.
Wolff and his partner, Kristin Ito, were walking in the area after attending a Sounders professional soccer game at Century Link Field, according to Seattle Police and family. Ito was confronted by a man carrying a small knife who began stabbing her. When Wolff intervened, the man turned and began stabbing him. Fire department medics responded to the scene and transported both victims to Harborview Medical Center. According to Wolff’s family, he died early Saturday morning, Sept. 14.
A Harborview official said Saturday afternoon that Ito was in stable condition. A suspect, a 44-year-old man, was arrested at the scene and has since been booked into the King County Jail for investigation of homicide, according to police.
“This is an unbelievably tragic loss,” said Interim President Daryl Campbell. “Troy was loved by students, loved by his fellow faculty members, loved by all who knew him.”
Wolff was chair of the English Department and Kathie Hunt, Interim Dean of Humanities, said the loss will always be felt.
“A college is like a quilt, all the patches fitting together,” Hunt said. “Troy was a very big piece of our quilt. Eventually, we’ll figure out a way to mend it, but it will never be the same.”
Wolff, 46, started as part-time instructor at Shoreline in 1996 and became a full-time professor in 2001. During that time, he taught abroad in Costa Rica, Spain, Greece, and Turkey. Besides teaching, he is the author of Seattle and King County: Gateway to the Pacific Northwest, and Seattle: The Emerald City.
At the time of the attack, SWAT and gang-unit officers arrived on scene first and contacted the suspect, who was standing near the victims still holding the knife, according to a police report. The suspect dropped the knife and arrested without further incident. Officers recovered a knife and placed it into evidence.
Police say they believe the suspect is a stranger to Wolff and Ito and that the attacks were unprovoked. While the investigation is continuing, police say there are indications that the suspect was operating at a diminished mental capacity.
Shoreline was already coping with the sudden and tragic death of another faculty member. Erin Walker died July 25, 2013 in a car accident near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. A native of Idaho, a memorial service intended for Walker’s Seattle-area friends and co-workers was scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 15, at Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church, 3001 24th Ave. S., Seattle.
“We are planning on a moment of silence for Erin at our fall convocation for employees this coming week and we’re working with the campus to plan a memorial for her,” Campbell said. “And now tragedy strikes again. I know our people are strong, dedicated and will come together for support, but this is awfully difficult for everyone.”
Wolff’s family members said Saturday that it was too soon to announce any service details.