Dominick Andujor, 6, was killed Sunday. Photo provided
CAMDEN - A 6-year-old boy was fatally stabbed and his sister was critically injured in a predawn attack in their bedroom Sunday that sent a shock wave of dread through the city's Centerville neighborhood.
Police launched a daylong search for a suspect - a neighborhood man, identified only as "Poppy" or "Popi," who often played with local children.
The attack occurred about 2:20 a.m. inside a home in the 900 block of Ware Street, where newly built duplexes stand a short distance from Interstate 676, police said.
Authorities said someone slashed the throats of Dominick Andujor and his 12-year-old sister, Amber. Two other children in the house, girls ages 9 and 14, were not injured.
Neighbors said the children's mother was in a hospital recovering from surgery at the time of the attack.
Ware Street resident Karina Mejia described the violent attack as "unreal."
"I just can't believe he is gone," she said of Dominick, who last week started first grade at Leap Academy University Charter School.
Authorities said Amber fled the house after being stabbed, then knocked on neighbors' doors seeking help. It wasn't until a few houses down that someone woke up to assist the injured child.
"There was a lot of blood," said Nakyta McCray, the neighbor who called 911. "The little girl was just rocking back and forth. The cut went right along her throat."
Amber was reported in critical condition at Cooper University Hospital, Camden.
"No one knew the boy was dead in the house until police arrived," said McCray. "They found him in one of the back rooms."
Laurelle Obannon said her son, Zameer, was devastated to learn his friend had died. Zameer, who is roughly the same age as Dominick, had a somber expression on Sunday.
"They played together all the time," said Obannon. "They'd be right outside here playing football. ... This is usually a quiet neighborhood."
Obannon said her son has played many times with the alleged suspect, who is believed to be in his mid- to late 20s, and that most children in the neighborhood know him.
"It's hard to understand why he would want to do this," she said. "This whole thing is bizarre."
Dominick's death was the second slaying of a child in Camden in less than a month.
Chevonne Thomas, 33, of the 1400 block of Kaighn Avenue beheaded her 2-year-old son, Zahree, on Aug. 22.
The mother, who had a history of mental illness and drug use, then stuck his head in a freezer and called 911 before committing suicide.
"This is tragic. Two kids killed a few weeks apart," said Ware Street resident Steve Bell. "People just aren't right."
Some neighbors wondered if the suspect in Dominick's slaying may use drugs, specifically "wet," or marijuana mixed with PCP.
"The people he hangs out with are on wet, but I can't say for sure if he does it," said McCray.
Tight-lipped authorities offered few details about the case Sunday, but said an investigation is ongoing.
Phil Dunn, Courier-Post Staff