Note: Susan Ornelas clarifies that the "Corner Intentions" concept was developed prior to the stabbing incident. The story has been edited to reflect this, and we apologize for the misunderstanding. – Ed.
Mad River Union
ARCATA – The hangout corner of Ninth and H streets exploded into violence Tuesday, Jan. 13, just before 11 a.m., as a running argument between two women escalated into bloodshed.
Arcata Police officers responded to a report of a physical fight, and located a 35-year-old Arcata woman lying on the sidewalk at the corner of Ninth and H streets with multiple stab wounds to her abdomen.
Witnesses knew the name of the suspect, who had fled the scene.
About 20 minutes later, the suspect, Victoria Clark, 38, of Arcata, was tracked down at the western terminus of Eighth Street. Clark told police where the weapon, a folding pocket knife, was located. It was recovered at Ninth and I streets.
Clark was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.
The victim was transported to Mad River Community Hospital, where she was reported to be in stable condition.
Clark and the victim had been arguing off and on all morning, according to witnesses. “Throughout the day there had been some back-and-forth disagreement in the center of the Plaza,” said Det. Sgt. Todd Dokweiler. “It culminated in the stabbing.”
He said Clark is “definitely well known to us” for “numerous” contacts over Arcata Municipal Code violations.
The victim’s injuries were severe. “These were life-threatening wounds,” Dokweiler said. “She will be in the hospital for some time.”
Attempting a constructive response to the violence, City Councilmember Susan Ornelas announced on Facebook an event called “Corner Intentions.”
Every Monday morning in February, participants are to gather at 9 a.m. at the corner of Ninth and H streets on the Plaza. From 9:05 to 9:20 a.m., they will stand or sit silently, projecting positive vibes.
States the Corner Intentions Facebook page, “Come to ‘Corner Intentions’ a 15 minute period of silence, with the intent of visioning the positive future we all want for the City of Arcata. We will gather on the Plaza for 15 minutes to SILENTLY vision, hope, pray, heal, love, and/or meditate... If it’s raining – bring an umbrella. If you are late, please enter SILENTLY. CHAT AFTERWARDS!”
The corner of Ninth and H streets has been a popular social gathering spot for years. It is a frequent source of calls to police for muni code infractions such as drinking, smoking, fights and disturbing the peace.
Ornelas sais she hoped to “meditate and bring light energy in, if that makes sense to people. Stand there for 15 minutes and take deep breaths.”
While she invites participation, the initiative is one she will pursue no matter how many people show up. “I just wanted to do this,” Ornelas said. “I won’t be disappointed if it’s just three people.”