The student body president of California State University, Chico, was recovering Monday from stab wounds suffered in what police believe was a hate crime, officials said.
Joseph Igbineweka, who was born in Nigeria, was stabbed early Sunday while walking in a Chico neighborhood near the college where mostly students reside, Chico police Sgt. Rob Merrifield said.
Igbineweka passed two men who began to make racial slurs, Merrifield said. He ignored them and continued to walk, but they followed him and continued to yell at him.
Igbineweka eventually turned around, and one of the men struck him, Merrifield said. He fought back, but the man pulled a pocket knife and stabbed him at least four times, in the neck, chest, stomach and arm, according to Merrifield. The attacker fled on foot.
Several police officers were in the area and were alerted to the situation, Merrifield said. An officer found Igbineweka and was able to get a description of the attacker and alert other officers in the area.
A suspect, 19-year-old Barry Sayavong, was found and arrested a few blocks away, Merrifield said. Sayavong, of Chico, is facing charges of attempted murder and a hate crime, according to Merrifield.
Igbineweka was hospitalized Monday but is expected to recover, Merrifield said. His worst injury was a deep gash on his arm.