Downtown Seattle

College professor dies after defending woman in stabbing attack

College professor dies after defending woman in stabbing attack »Play Video
The suspect is taken into custody by police at the scene.
SEATTLE - A local man has died and a woman is in serious condition after they were stabbed repeatedly by a stranger who confronted them Friday night as they were walking in Pioneer Square after the Seattle Sounders game, police said.

Friends identified the man who died as Troy Wolff, 46, who was chairman of the English Department at Shoreline Community College and had taught there for 17 years.

He was walking with his girlfriend near 3rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street at about 10:30 p.m. Friday when she was suddenly confronted by a man who pulled out a small knife and began stabbing her repeatedly in the torso.

Wolff attempted to intervene, and the suspect turned on him and began stabbing him repeatedly in the neck and torso, Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said. Wolff died hours later at the hospital.

Officers from the Seattle Police Department's SWAT and gang units arrived on scene first and found the suspect standing near the victims still holding the bloody knife. The suspect dropped the knife when police arrived and was taken into custody.

 Troy Wolff (Photo by Daniel Berman)


Medics responded to the scene and took both victims to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Wolff died Saturday from his wounds. His 30-year-old girlfriend is listed in serious condition.

Kathie Hunt, acting dean of humanities at Shoreline and a friend of Wolff, says he was a genuine person who will be desperately missed.

"It doesn't surprise me that he spent time protecting people he loved at the end," she says.

She said Wolff loved to travel and taught abroad. He also enjoyed the outdoors and sports.

On his Facebook page, Wolff posted a photo Friday night from CenturyLink Field. He wrote: "Cheap seats, great match."

Just hours later, he was murdered.

On Saturday, the 44-year-old suspect was booked into King County Jail for investigation of murder. There are no other suspects.

A preliminary investigation found that the suspect is a stranger to the victims and that the assaults were unprovoked.

The attack remains under active investigation, but police said there are indications that the suspect was operating at a diminished mental capacity.