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Arraignment Friday in fatal stabbing near Santa Rosa library; victim ID'd

  • Zak McKenna of Santa Rosa pays respects to friend Nicholas Bloom as he places flowers on evidence markings behind the central library in downtown Santa Rosa. Bloom was stabbed to death behind the library on Christmas Eve. (Kent Porter / PD)

The man found stabbed to death late Christmas Eve in an alley behind the downtown Santa Rosa library was identified Thursday as Nicholas Bloom, 22. Police said Bloom, who would have turned 23 on Sunday, was homeless and known to Santa Rosa law enforcement.

A friend of Bloom’s, who came to the scene of the killing to pay his respects Thursday, said he was shocked by the young man’s death.

“I just can’t understand why someone would do this,” said Zak McKenna of Santa Rosa, who said he was a childhood friend of Bloom’s.

“He didn’t always do the right thing, but he was a person I could count on. If anyone was messing with me, he would have stepped in.”

The man arrested in connection with Bloom’s slaying, Vladimir Sotelo-Urena, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon. Sotelo-Urena, 26, also was identified as homeless.

Bloom was found Tuesday night after police responded to a 10:45 call about a body in the rear alley of the Central Library on E Street. He was dead when officers arrived and had suffered multiple stab wounds, police said.

An autopsy was underway Thursday, and was expected to continue into Friday, while an investigation around the scene of the stabbing is expected to continue into the weekend, police said.

Police said that after canvassing the area, officers found Sotelo-Urena with blood on his clothing and hands and carrying a bloody knife.

He admitted stabbing Bloom, police said, and was booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of homicide. Police still are investigating the nature of the contact between the men — how long they were together and whether there had been an argument.

“We’ve talked to a few witnesses, and we’re looking for more,” Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Eric Goldschlag said.

Police said they had not had any previous contact with Sotelo-Urena, and his name did not appear in Sonoma County court records.

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