Man stabbed at Beard Brook Park homeless camp

An altercation between at least two people camping at Beard Brook Park ended in a stabbing Friday morning.

Modesto police officers were conducting routine patrol at the park around 10 a.m., when they were alerted to a 48-year-old man who had been stabbed there about an hour earlier, said Sgt. Mike Hammond.

Hammond oversees the Police Department’s Beat Health Unit, much of which focuses on working with the homeless.

He has patrolled the park daily since the city opened it to the homeless after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that municipalities could not prosecute people sleeping outdoors if there are not enough shelter beds or other alternatives.

The victim, who was taken by ambulance to a Modesto hospital, was stabbed multiple times, including in the chest, but is expected to survive.

Another man suffered a cut to his hand while wrestling the knife away from the suspect.

Officers interviewed witnesses and identified the suspect as 20-year-old Brandon Brooks, who had left the camp before officers arrived.

Officers located Brooks around 11:15 a.m. in the 400 block of Paradise Road, Hammond said.

He was booked on suspicion of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Hammond said this is the first violent crime at the park since it was opened to the homeless in early September.

Some 500 people now live at the park, and wall-to-wall tents line the hill the city designated for camping.

To address overcrowding and keep the homeless dry, the city and county plan to move the camp to beneath the Ninth Street Bridge. That is supposed to take place within the next 30 to 45 days.