A homeless man who was stabbed to death by an expelled, 20-year-old college student, had asked his family before his death to forgive anyone who harmed him, according to his older sister.
David Breaux told his sister Maria in a Faceook message in 2016, “If I’m ever harmed and unable to speak for myself, forgive the perpetrator and help others forgive that person."
Breaux was known as a peacemaker and a nonviolent person who wanted to encourage nonviolence in others, and his sister is now trying to follow his directions after Carlos Reales Dominguez, a former UC Davis student, stabbed him on April 27, leaving his body on a bench where he often slept.
Police say Dominguez also stabbed 20-year-old UC Davis student Karim Abou Najm to death two days later as Najm biked home from a school event where he was given a research award.
Two days after that, Dominguez allegedly attacked a homeless woman in her 60s in a tent where she was sleeping downtown, but others in the homeless camp helped her and she is now recovering from the attack.
Dominguez is now in Yolo County Jail on charges of murder and attempted murder.
His spree is over, but the consequences are just beginning.
“I have to start the process of forgiveness,” she told the LA Times. “That was just something that came into my mind. I thought also this person must have been in such pain to have gotten to this point to do this. Either they’re in great pain or having some kind of mental break, or someone has failed them, or maybe we’ve failed them.”
Najm’s parents will not talk about forgiving their son's killer, but want to make sure his short life is remembered.
So far, they have started a scholarship that will bear his name, and plan to add a memorial to him in Sycamore Park, where he was killed.
They also plan to start initiatives at UC Davis where they both work to research mental health and better interventions for those like their son's killer.
It's an acknowledgment that something must have gone terribly wrong in the young man's life to cause him to take out his anger in that way.
As for Breaux's sister Maria, she wrote a note to Dominguez's parents saying she forgives him and hopes they all can "heal from all of this."
“That’s their son, and that’s a child,” she said, and added, “For me, the greatest healing has been through forgiveness.”