Police cars respond to stabbing at HRC shelter, viewed from the second floor dormitory.
Dana Bolden and Gary Burton had been rubbing each other the wrong way for weeks. On Sunday, March 17, their conflict reached a breaking point.
Bolden left the Davis St. overflow shelter, as usual, around 4:30 AM. Like many others who sleep at overflow, he headed over to the Weinberg Housing Resource Center (HRC), the City’s primary shelter, operated by Jobs Housing & Recovery Inc., a.k.a. JHR. (This shelter is known to many on the street as “Code Blue” because it is the go-to destination during extremely cold weather.)
HRC begins to admit people (who did not sleep there the previous night) at about 5:30 AM. Bolden was one of the first to enter. Burton, who had reportedly been banned for fighting in summer 2012, had already entered the shelter. His time and method of entry remain unknown.
Bolden was seated in the dayroom when he saw Burton about to walk past. Bolden stretched out his legs to block the narrow walkway, intentionally obstructing Burton’s passage. This provocation led into a 25-minute argument in which both men raised their voices and postured aggressively.
At some point, Burton suggested that they settle their dispute outside. Bolden agreed. The two walked past clients at the water heater and workers at the front desk, turning left and entering the narrow set of stairs leading to the shelter’s only entrance. Witnesses outside saw the angry pair, obviously in conflict, move from the lobby into the small enclosed entranceway.
Bolden never made it outside. Within a minute of entering the area, Burton had stabbed him in the upper chest and managed to cut his throat. Burton headed out into the parking lot, still full of overflow sleepers and others waiting to enter the warm dayroom, as well as HRC security guards.
Map of the fight, drawn on HRC floorplan. Fallsway at the top, parking lot & main entrance below.
Bolden staggered back into the shelter lobby, where according to witnesses he tried to speak but was able only to cough up blood. He collapsed at the front desk and soon lost consciousness.