Campbell police seek witnesses in fatal stabbing

Investigators are continuing to search for clues in the fatal stabbing of a teen in Campbell.
March 17, 2014 12:16:20 PM PDT
Police are looking for witnesses as they investigate a fatal stabbing of a teenager in a popular park in Campbell yesterday.

The 16-year-old victim was a student at Boynton Continuation School. He recently transferred there from Westmont High School. Grief counselors are at the school as they try to deal with what happened at the park in Campbell.

John D. Morgan Park is the largest park in Campbell. Last night, it was the site of the city's first homicide of the year. A person called 911 to report an injured man in the park.

Police arrived to find 24-year-old Todd Tharp. He had injuries sustained from a beating. While officers were investigating that, another call came in from Valley Medical Center reporting a 16-year-old boy had been dropped off at the emergency room with a stab wound. He was taken into surgery but died at 2:55 this morning.

Police believe Tharp and the boy had some type of confrontation by the baseball field with the possibility others were involved. Officers believe they have knife used to kill the teen.

"From what I'm being told it was a large hunting like knife, kind of like a bowie knife," said Campbell police Joe Cefalu.

Tharp is cooperating with police and is claiming self-defense. Investigators say he doesn't have a permanent address and stays at friend's homes in the area. Officers say the boy is a San Jose resident and are looking at the possibility this could be gang related. As for the park, people in the neighborhood say it's popular, but this homicide is obviously concerning.

"I would definitely not come here after dark. I mean I have a 14-year-old. She's 14 now -- I still wouldn't bring here at night -- you know," said park visitor Julie Willy.

Tharp was treated for his injuries and booked into the Santa Clara County jail for homicide. It will be up to the district attorney's office to decide if he acted in self-defense.