Police seek witnesses to Saturday’s fatal Arcata stabbing

Mad River Union

ARCATA – Friends and family are grieving over 19-year-old David “DJ” Lawson, a Humboldt State University student who was stabbed to death after an argument broke out at an off-campus party early Saturday morning, April 15.

David "DJ" Lawson

Arcata Police were called to the 1100 block of Spear Avenue near the West End Road and St. Louis Road roundabout at 3 a.m. for a reported stabbing.

When officers arrived, they found Lawson bleeding from multiple stab wounds. Officers began lifesaving efforts before the sophomore student was transported to nearby Mad River Community Hospital, where he died.

According to Arcata Police, an argument broke out at the party and escalated into a stabbing.

Kyle Christopher Zoellner, 23, of McKinleyville was arrested on suspicion of murder and booked into the county jail.

The Arcata Police Department is leading the investigation and working with Humboldt State University Police.

Lawson’s mother, Charmaine Lawson, has started a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/inhonorofDJ, to raise money for her son’s funeral.

On the page the mother wrote that David “DJ” Lawson’s “life was taken before his time in a senseless act of violence. DJ was the best son a mother can ask for. Friends and family talk about his smile that could brighten your day, how considerate he was, how he treasured me, ‘mom,’ his younger brother and sister.

“He was the kindest person I ever met. He did what was right because it was right. He was protective of those he loved, and compassionate of those he did not. I have never heard him say one bad word about another human being. If you ever met a kinder person, I challenge you to prove it. He was a sophomore at Humboldt State University studying criminal justice where he would have used his degree to help the voiceless in the community,” the mother wrote. “The world has lost a bright and shining star. Please continue to pray for me and my family as we go through this unbearable loss. DJ  was recently appointed President of BU (Brothers United) at Humboldt [State] University, and was an excellent upstanding student. The funds collected for DJ will go towards bringing DJ home and funeral services and expenses.”

HSU officials are reaching out to the family of the student, and offer counseling and other support for friends, faculty, and others on campus who knew him. Students who are in need of support are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students office at (707) 826-3504 or visit that office in Siemens Hall 211. Students can contact Counseling & Psychological services at (707) 826-3236; staff or faculty may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at (707) 443-7358.

Arcata Police were on campus collecting ifnormation. Any witnesses or anyone with information about the stabbing is asked to contact Arcata Police directly at (707) 822-2428 or University Police at (707) 826-5555.


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