Burlington stabbing leaves 1 man dead

Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 5:39 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 4, 2022 at 9:29 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington Police continue to investigate a deadly stabbing that happened early Sunday morning. Officers identified the victim as Abubakar Sharrif, 23, of Burlington. So far, no suspect is in custody.

“Things are really out of control. There are serious concerns here among both the residents, the business community. People who live and work here,” said Christopher Haessly of Burlington.

Haessly lives downtown and is concerned after the fifth homicide in the city this year. He feels there are not enough police on the streets at night.

“We don’t feel we are getting the kind of police coverage that we really think we ought to have. Clearly, the downtown core is kind of becoming the epicenter for gun violence. Apparently now additional types of violence,” Haessly said.

Burlington Police say around 3 a.m. Sunday, they were called about a fight after the bars closed, which turned into a stabbing at Piesanos Restaurant on Main Street.

“Officers responded and found an unresponsive male who had been stabbed. A very significant stab wound,” acting Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said.

According to Murad, officers believe the fight started inside and ended up outside the restaurant. Police say Sharrif was stabbed inside Piesanos.

“This was a fight, this was a bar closing fight between two parties. We are still trying to work out what may have precipitated the fight. Whether the parties knew one another,” said Murad.

Sharrif was treated by Burlington Police and Burlington Fire on the scene. He was declared dead at the hospital.

Murad says he does not want people in the city to become complacent about this kind of crime.

“I don’t want this community to become inured to this kind of violence. The fact that this is not a gunfire incident, that it is not similar to the kinds of crimes that we’ve seen over the course of the rest of this year should not be a relief to us. This one is as important as anything that we deal with. It’s a human life lost,” explained Murad.

Haessly says crime this year has already taken a toll on the community.

“It’s absolutely having an impact on businesses. People are not moving here. People don’t want to come into the downtown to shop anymore. I have talked to business owners. Business is dropping off. I mean just look around,” Haessly said.

Acting Chief Murad says officers are reviewing evidence and interviewing witnesses to help identify a suspect.