SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As the community tries to make sense of the deadly stabbing inside Grace Baptist Church's downtown homeless shelter over the weekend, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has confirmed that a city employee, Nguyen Pham, is one of the surviving victims.
"Nguyen Pham has selflessly volunteered to help our unhoused, but was seriously injured in the brutal stabbing attack Sunday evening," said Liccardo in a Twitter post asking the public to consider donating to a GoFundMe campaign set up to help with medical expenses.
Two people were killed in the stabbing spree, but three others, including Pham, remain in serious condition. Just last week, Pham was recognized at the San Jose city council meeting for his work on the city's census team. He had been volunteering at Grace over the past month.
"Nguyen was there along with many other volunteers to help provide support to the unhoused community, and when I heard about this happening at Grace, I mean, my heart sank," said Pham's friend, Huy Tran, who also volunteers at the shelter. "Everybody has downtime, but I feel like his downtime was doing things for other people... just a heart of gold."
Police are still investigating what led up to the stabbing and are in the process of interviewing witnesses. Sources tell ABC7 News that the suspect is a homeless man who is known to the church community. He's currently in jail awaiting his first court appearance on Wednesday afternoon.
"There's a risk certainly that comes with working with the unhoused. It's a very difficult environment, but this is the only thing that's going to help solve it," said homeless outreach advocate Pastor Scott Wagers of CHAM Deliverance Ministry. "You can throw money at it, but you got to be boots on the ground, you got to be like that brother is, you know, face-to-face, volunteering."