A community alert describes the attacker as in his 30s and possibly homeless. Police said he is Black, between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11 and has dreadlocks or was wearing a bandana that looked like dreadlocks.
Anat Kimchi, 31, was walking in the 400 block of South Wacker Drive about 4 p.m. Saturday when a man stabbed her in the back, according to Chicago police. She was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Kimchi had been working on her doctoral degree in criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland. Her family said she was in Chicago visiting friends.
Police say the same man attacked two other women earlier this month, approaching them from behind and hitting them with an unknown object. The attacks occurred:
- 500 block of S Franklin on 10 June 2021 at approximately 9:31 pm.
- 0-100 block of E Congress Pkwy on 13 June 2021 at approximately 7:14 am.
Earlier this week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said police knew who stabbed Kimchi and were "scouring the various homeless encampments downtown."
"We know who he is. We’ve got good film of him. We believe he’s a homeless individual," Lightfoot said. "It’s awful. No question about it."
But at a later news conference, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan stopped short of saying investigators know who the attacker is. "We are seeking the identity and the eventual arrest of the person who stabbed that female," he said.
He declined to comment further, other than to say investigators have video of the attack and a witness who is cooperating.
Jim Wales, president of the community group South Loop Neighbors, questioned why police took nearly a week to release a description of the attacker. His community group held a meeting this week about a spike in violent crime in the neighborhood.
"The issue is that, in the last weeks, there have been two murders and a shooting on Dearborn. People are very concerned," he said. "It’s critical the information has to be relayed to the public."
On June 12, a 22-year-old man was shot dead as he sat in a parked car in the 600 block of South Wells Street, police said. Dearl Butler was shot several times by someone in a passing car and died at Stroger Hospital.
The Central Police District, which covers the Loop and South Loop, has seen three murders so far this year, according to police statistics, one less than during the same time last year. However, shootings have more than doubled over last year in the district.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, whose 25th Ward includes where Kimchi was attacked and killed, expressed concern about the delay in installing a new commander in the district.
"We’re of course extremely concerned. And if there’s a pattern, and this is something we’ve discussed in three public safety meetings, [it is] important the investigation gets to the bottom of it," Sigcho-Lopez said.
On Wednesday, police announced that Lieutenant Patricia O. Zuber was promoted to commander of the District after Jacob Alderden was demoted from the position earlier in June.
"These changes of course are a concern for how these things took so long: The urgency of the investigation, making sure the investigation happens expediently. It’s critical for residents," Sigcho-Lopez said.
Police are warning residents to be aware of their surroundings and remain calm if confronted by an assailant.
If you have any information, contact the Bureau of Detectives at Area Three at 312-744-8261.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.