In Seattle, a social worker was the victim of a “horrifying” and “terrifying” deadly attack.
Before 11 am on November 23rd, a public housing resident showed up at an apartment complex in the city’s Belltown neighborhood.
According to the Seattle Times, security footage shows the man walk into the building holding grocery bags before pulling out a large knife. He then walked into the 42-year-old social worker Kristin Benson’s office with the knife in hand.
Not long after, a co-worker heard Benson screaming before she ran to help. According to the court documents, the woman recognized her co-worker’s attacker.
She identified the attacker as 58-year-old Hans Dewey Van-Belkum before telling the investigators that he was making “punching/stabbing” motions at Benson as she was face down on the floor.
The co-worker then ran out of the office, with Van-Belkum reportedly running after her with the knife in hand.
The security footage recorded his fall during the chase, after which he got up and tried to break down her office door. When he couldn’t, he then went back to Benson.
In the charging documents, a Seattle detective wrote, “The defendant then re-entered the victim’s office where he, at a minimum, plunged his knife into the victim’s back.”
In the same report, King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Dan Raz wrote, “The murder of Ms. Benson was horrifying, an unarmed victim, trapped in her own office, unable to escape or fight back against the defendant’s rage and blade. Equally terrifying was the defendant’s willingness to attack others who came to Ms. Benson’s assistance violently.”
Before fleeing, Van-Belkum also reportedly punched another staff member multiple times and tackled him to the ground before an apartment resident pulled him off.
According to the Seattle Times, when the police arrived, the accused killer had already fled, leaving Benson dead and face down on her floor with a knife sticking out of her back.
An autopsy showed she’d been stabbed 12 times. The medical examiner later reported that three of the wounds would have already been fatal on their own.
According to the charging documents, police officers saw the suspect five hours after the crime. He was apparently still wearing the same blood-stained clothes captured on the surveillance video.
Van-Belkum allegedly had mental health problems and possibly believed that Benson was involved in a plan to evict him from the building where he’d lived for eight years.
Van-Belhum is now facing charges for murder and second-degree assault.