COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE (1/23/2020): The man accused of hurting eight people during a violent stabbing spree appeared in court for the first time in person Thursday morning.
Rene Miller mugshot. Background photo from KKTV on Jan. 13, 2020 was the scene of a stabbing spree in Colorado Springs.
Rene Miller, 38, sat in court in an orange jumpsuit as a judge scheduled his next court appearance.
Miller is facing 41 charges, including attempted murder, assault and menacing.
His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 21.
PREVIOUS (1/15/2020): Arrest papers show 38-year-old Rene Miller went on a 40-minute stabbing rampage around trails near America the Beautiful Park and downtown Colorado Springs early Monday morning.
Victims told police Miller was licking his finger and rubbing the spit on their foreheads in the shape of a cross.
According to court documents, Miller was wearing a white blanket while walking around stabbing people. Victims said he would ask if they were Christian and that they only needed to answer "yes" or "no."
One of the victims said she told him she was not Christian, and he replied: "I have to kill her." He allegedly ended up slicing her in the jaw under her cheek.
Documents state the suspect walked through America the Beautiful Park, toward downtown Colorado Springs. He was allegedly walking on the sidewalk when he came into contact with another victim. Court documents show he stabbed that person three times in their upper back, two times in their triceps, once in the left shoulder and once in the armpit.
Police said when they arrested the suspect, his clothes were covered in blood and he had a 3-inch fold-able knife with him.
Police said the stabber left eight victims across a mile and a half, spanning from the Midland Trail near 8th and Cimarron, where the spree began to Tejon and Boulder, where he was caught. The suspect was reportedly stopped by his last two victims, who were able to turn the tables and hold him down until officers arrived.
The first report of a stabbing came in around 1:30 a.m.
"Officers and medical personnel respond there [at 8th and Cimarron]. ... The two victims stated that they were attacked and then [the suspect] ran off down the trail," CSPD Sgt. Shawn Peterson told 11 News.
Officers split up, with some remaining at the scene to assist the victims and others continuing down the Midland Trail to the Pikes Peak Greenway to find the assailant.
"As we proceeded along the trail, we found several other people that the suspect came in contact with and had also assaulted. We ended up getting another call for service or several other calls for service with regards to injured victims. Several were at America the Beautiful Park that also runs along that [Pikes Peak Greenway]. We then proceeded to that location and were getting medical to all the victims there," Peterson said.
Poore, who's homeless, told The Gazette she was there near the park cooking with a candle when the suspect appeared with a blanket draped around him. Jonny Seaton, 20, another victim from America the Beautiful Park, said after attacking the man who helped Poore, the suspect's attention turned to Seaton and his fiancee; both were asked, as Poore was, whether they were Christians. A "no" response from Seaton's fiancee resulted in the couple being attacked too.
Officers continued searching, trying to capture the suspect before he could hurt anyone else.
"Everywhere he was going, he was trying to come in contact with people and he was injuring them," Peterson said.
Peterson told 11 News the victims were as cooperative as they could be but weren't sure exactly which way their attacker went.
"We were scouring the downtown area to include the parks and the trails looking for the suspect. It wasn’t until some citizens who were dealing with the victims were able to give us a lot more detail where we were able to locate where the suspect was en route to, and we were able to stop him from hurting anybody else."
Police received a call just after 2 a.m. regarding two additional stabbing victims in the area of Tejon and Boulder.
"Those victims were able to physically detain the suspect," said Colorado Springs Police Department spokesperson Lt. Jim Sokolik. "An officer then took him into custody."
All of the victims survived and were taken to local hospitals with nonlife-threatening injuries. As of Monday night, five of the eight victims were confirmed out of the hospital.
"There doesn’t appear to be any accomplices. There appears to be one sole individual doing this," Peterson said.
Officers say they believe the suspect would have continued stabbing people if he hadn't been captured, and praised those who helped police find him.
"I’d really like to thank all the public for assisting us in help catching him, along with medical and FD. Their quick response really helped these victims and also helped police try to locate the suspect," Peterson said.