Murder was in “pretty safe” area where crime is targeted, says resident

Stabbing victims and suspect all knew each other, and that is often the case, a watchdog said
Stabbing victims and suspect all knew each other, and that is often the case, a watchdog said
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The murder of a 37-year-old Sioux Falls man — and the injury of a woman who was also stabbed by the suspect — occurred in a central Sioux Falls residential neighborhood that has had its share of high crime over the years.

But its lead watchdog calls the area “pretty safe” these days.

Sunday’s homicide in Pettigrew Heights — two blocks west of downtown — involved a suspect and victims that all knew each other, both police and residents said Monday. The neighborhood’s association president said this is often the case.

“Crimes that are happening in Pettigrew are targeted,” Sierra Broussard told Dakota News Now. “So when you’re walking down the streets, nine out of ten times, nobody’s going to bother you.”

Police said a 24-year-old suspect has been charged with the murder. Isaiah Dubray was arrested on Monday morning at 1:23 a.m., without incident. Dubray is currently lodged in the Minnehaha County Jail, and the cash bond for his release is set at $1,000,000.

The stabbing took place early Sunday morning in an apartment building at 9th and Duluth — two blocks from downtown. A tenant called police at about 5:24 a.m.

When officers arrived, they found a man in the hallway with multiple stab wounds. Authorities attempted to save his life, but he died from those injuries.

In an adjacent apartment, officers found a 46-year-old female with serious stab wounds. She is in the hospital with what are being described as “non-life threatening” injuries.

Before police arrived, the male victim told a witness the name of the suspect.

“That was part of what led us to Mr. Dubray as a suspect,” said Lt. Nick Butler of the Sioux Falls Police Department detective bureau. “They knew each other.”

Butler said the reason for the murder is unknown and under investigation.

According to court documents, Dubray and the victim had been messaging on Facebook, and had arranged for Dubray to come to the apartment.

One tenant told Dakota News Now on Monday that the two victims lived in separate apartments in the building, and had a romantic relationship.

And they both knew Durbay.

Broussard knew them all.

”I wasn’t surprised when this happened,” Broussard said. “Sometimes crimes can be prevented and sometimes crimes cannot be prevented.”

According to a Dakota News Now background check, Durbay was released this past summer from prison after a four-year sentence for violating probation. He has been sentenced in the past for simple assault, resisting arrest, and drug use. Past charges that were dismissed by prosecutors include domestic abuse, property damage, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

When asked what she knew about Durbay, Broussard said this:

“Most of the people on the streets doing criminal behavior, it’s their upbringing — how they are brought up as a child. A lot of drug history, a lot of alcoholism in your family. A lot of domestic abuse situations in their family. So, whenever they have that kind of growing up, so to speak, one person does it and, so, the whole family does it.”

When asked what she knew about the incident, Broussard said:

“Usually, when these types of homicides happen — this wasn’t a random homicide. It’s usually alcohol, drug, and/or sex related.”

Broussard would not give details about what she knew about the two victims out of respect to the SFPD, which has not released victims’ names yet.

An tenant who talked to Dakota News Now said the male victim had been living with his uncle in the apartment building for about eight months, and had been “seeing” the female victim, who lived one story above him.

The building where the homicide took place, Broussard said, is occupied by mostly people with either a criminal history or an eviction on their record.

“They might have something that’s keeping them from getting a place to live,” Broussard said. “This rental property is a second chance property.”

The tenant said the landlord tells residents to call the police when there is suspicious behavior.

This, Broussard said, has become a more common practice among residents that has made Pettigrew Heights a safer place since she arrived and took over as neighborhood association president a couple years ago.

Fights and sexual assault took place in alleyways, and sometimes there would be conflict in the streets, she said. Plus, “prostitutes on the corners prostituting daytime and at nighttime, and drunk drivers coming through, and human trafficking was happening right here in broad daylight.”

But a lot of it, Broussard said, would not be reported to the police.

“We have a lot of individuals that maybe have a criminal history background,” Broussard said. “They’ve been to prison, and a lot of clientele in this neighborhood does not want to be involved because they have issues with their own run-ins with the law before.

“Now, we have people that will call me if they don’t want to call the police. I’ll call the police. We have people that are showing video camera footage and we have people cooperating with law enforcement.”

Sunday’s stabbing occurred near the border of the Pettigrew Heights and St. Joseph’s Cathedral neighborhoods, which is a mix of low-rent properties and colorful, stately 19th Century homes that make is a designated “historic district,” several blocks north from what Broussard calls the higher-crime section of Pettigrew Heights, between 11th and 14th streets and Duluth and Summit streets.

“This part of the city is pretty good,” Broussard said, standing at 9th and Duluth, near the apartment of the murder.

“But I’m still just going to say that just because it is safe doesn’t mean to not put your guard down. You always want to keep your lights on in your house. You always want to light it up. You always want to close your garage doors, lock your cars, and you always want to be the eyes and ears of the police.”

The fact that someone in the apartment building called the police on Sunday morning in what appeared to be swift fashion is encouraging to Broussard.

“I’m very grateful that someone called the police and this crime did not just go underneath the rug”