Fourth Update as of 7/19: According to a press release, an active Felony arrest warrant has been issued for Denzil Dexter Cummings. Local law enforcement officials have been working with The FBI, The US Marshal Service, and The Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office to bring Cummings to justice. Officials have received numerous tips regarding his whereabouts and are actively following all leads.
Third Update as of 7/18: Law enforcement has announced that the victim, 24-year-old Kennan Orson Michael Paul, and the suspect, 28-year-old Denzil Dexter Cummings, were related. Several reports have claimed they were cousins, though this hasn't been confirmed. Both Paul and Cummings were residents of Newark, New Jersey who were working for a construction company on the Auden Ithaca Apartments. The incident stemmed from a personal dispute between the two men and was not a random act of violence. Ithaca Police has released a photo of the suspect, Denzil Dexter Cummings.
Second Update as of 7/18 at 2 p.m.: Law enforcement has now identified the suspect and victim in yesterday's stabbing death on Lake Street in Ithaca at the Auden Ithaca apartment complex. The suspect, identified as 28-year-old Denzil Dexter Cummings, is still not in custody, but was last believed to be seen in Lansing, though there have been no verified sightings.
The victim, who was declared dead yesterday at Cayuga Medical Center, has been identified as 24-year-old Kennan Orson Michael Paul. As of yesterday, it is still believed that Cummings and Paul knew each other before the attack and are not from the Ithaca area, but were working for the summer at the apartment complex.
Updated: At a quick press conference Wednesday afternoon, Ithaca Police Chief Dennis Nayor restated and clarified details involving the fatal stabbing at 215 Lake Street that occurred late this morning.
The police responded to a 10:38 phone call about an injured person. Upon arrival, the victim was outside of the apartment, with what appeared to be multiple stab wounds, Nayor said. After being transported to Cayuga Medical Center, the victim died from his wounds.
The police also updated the description of the suspect, who was previously reported as a black man, to a black or hispanic man, last seen in jeans and a white tee-shirt. At the press conference, police did not offer any new details regarding the suspect's whereabouts now.
Both the victim and the suspect worked at the apartment, hired by a third-party contractor, wrote Xiao Liu, of DMG Investments LLC, which owns Auden Ithaca, in a press release. Liu said that in response to the stabbing they had sent a regional property manager from New York City. Earlier, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick was on the scene and issued social media posts indicating the victim and suspect knew each other prior to the attack.
A witness who works at the apartment complex previously told the Ithaca Times that there were limited-to-no security cameras on the site. There are plans for security cameras, Liu said, but “this incident has transpired prior to completion of this work.”
While some Cornell students took to Facebook to mock the high density of Cornell Alerts released by the Cornell University Police Department, which sent text messages every half an hour and multiple calls to phones registered in the CUAlert system, residents of the apartment were more frustrated by the limited information shared.
Cornell student Bashir Ali was inside of his room throughout the entire incident, he said.
Ali, a resident of Auden Ithaca Apartments, formerly known as Gun Hill Apartments, said that he ignored the Cornell Alerts at first, but after they grew more regular, he checked them, and supplemented the information by reading news updates. However, he didn’t receive any alert from apartment management at Auden Ithaca until after 4 p.m., and had remained in his room throughout the duration of the street closure.
A statement by Auden Ithaca property manager Elizabeth Lust, received at 4:06 p.m., said that their staff was continuing to cooperate with authorities, and that the incident “appears to be a personal dispute between the two men involved and is now way related to the facility, our residents or staff,” she wrote. Residents may have to show identification and check in and out of the apartment for safety purposes, she said.
Police were still present on the site after the street was open. Lieutenant John Joly said that some police had gone door-to-door checking in several of the buildings, and talking with residents. Nayor said the investigation will continue and urged anyone with information to contact the Ithaca Police Department.
“I definitely don't feel safe,” Ali said after Lake Street reopened.
Original: Ithaca Police officers are investigating a stabbing, according to a witness, at 210 Lake Street in Ithaca, the address associated with the Auden Ithaca Apartments, formerly known as Gun Hill Apartments. An employee working in the building was stabbed in the chest around 10:50 a.m. The employee was rushed to a local hospital. Mayor Svante Myrick said the victim died. Myrick was on the scene in a Facebook post around 2:30 p.m. Authorities have not yet released the victim’s name.
“The suspect and victim are both from out of town, here for the summer,” Myrick wrote on Facebook. “They both appeared to know each other very well - this was not a random attack.”
Lake Street, between Lincoln St. and University Ave. has been reopened. Police officials have said there is no longer an active threat but the suspect remains at large. Ithaca police have announced that a press conference will be held at 6 p.m. to provide all available updates.
The suspect in question has been described as a black male, approximately 5 ft. 6 in., wearing a white t-shirt and either jeans or tan pants (reports have conflicted) with Van's sneakers and a medium-cut afro. The suspect was last seen fleeing the area, witnesses say, and an alert from the Cornell University police said the suspect was armed and dangerous and should not be approached if seen. If a citizen does see the suspect, they are encouraged to call 911 immediately. Tompkins County Sheriffs, Cornell PD, New York State Police and the Ithaca Police Department are all investigating.
Gun Hill Apartment employees have been instructed not to share details on social media. One employee did say the buildings have limited to no security cameras.
“It was bad,” he said, describing the stab as a chest wound. “It was intense.”
According to a press release from the new owners of the building, they are currently working on several renovations, some of which included plans for additional security measures and placing new cameras where appropriate. Their first concern is of the residents, visitors and employees of Auden Ithaca.
This is an ongoing story and will be updated as it unfolds.