Reporting Andrea Menniti
MODESTO (CBS13) – An 18-year-old Modesto man was stabbed to death in front of his girlfriend at a southeast Modesto park Tuesday night during a robbery attempt, police said Wednesday.
“It’s a sad situation,” neighbor Ninon Lapan-Dalman said. “We are in shock and upset.”
Officers were dispatched to Creekwood Park at about 8:30 p.m. to investigate a possible stabbing. Callers were able to provide a description of several suspects and the first arriving officer spotted a man matching the description of one of the suspects near the intersection of Creekwood and Claus.
“The first thing that came across my mind when I saw his picture was ‘poor kid, he was a true innocent victim,’ ” Modesto police Sgt. Rick Applegate said.
After initially complying, the man ran and was apprehended near the Johansen High School football stadium after a short foot pursuit. Investigators believe the man was involved in the fatal attack.
When officers arrived at the park minutes later, they located a critically injured man who had sustained several stab wounds. The victim, identified Wednesday as Tylor Crippen, was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Detectives also detained two other teenage suspects who they believe were involved in the attack. Police say Crippen and his girlfriend tried to run away from the three assailants but he couldn’t and they stabbed him to death.
“Our victim tried to get away from the robbers and these robbers escalated the situation, chased him down and killed him in cold blood,” said Applegate.
Crippen graduated from Johansen High School last year and was studying at Modesto Junior College, according to his Facebook page.
“It makes me feel, I don’t even know how to feel, I walk this park at night,” said Lapan-Dalman.
The entire park and a portion of the adjacent roadway were taped off as the crime scene. Detectives were combing the park for evidence into the early morning hours on Wednesday.
The name of the man arrested won’t be released until he’s booked into jail.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about the murder to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 or send a text message to 274637. Type “TIP704″ followed by the tip.