Man charged with murder in "random" stabbing death at Riverside Park

by: Larry Spruill, Action News Jax Updated:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Neighbors describe the man stabbed to death outside a Jacksonville library Friday as "sweet" and "kind" and someone who always looked out for others.

Police say 74 year-old Ashley Kraan was randomly attacked while walking his dog in Willow Branch Park by a man whom police say was known to have mental issues.

Before he died Kraan was able to describe his attacker as a white male with red hair and a red beard, according to police reports.

The suspect, Evan Michael Freda, was arrested during a neighborhood canvass and was charged with murder.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced the arrest Friday night. 

The news hit the Riverside area pretty hard, as neighbors like Cameron Parker passed by.

“I didn’t think something this extreme would happen. I can’t believe that happened,” Parker said. 

Our cameras caught officers circling a bench, just feet away from the library, placing evidence markers. Flying above was the JSO helicopter. It’s a scene that has neighbors asking questions. 

“What’s going on?” asked Cathy Griggs. 

Police say the victim was stabbed to death around 2:30 p.m. Friday near a bench. Left behind on the bench was a blood-stained shirt that appears to belong to the victim.

“You would expect this to happen in the middle of the night or something, not in broad daylight,” said Parker. 

Action News Jax did some digging on JSO’s crime-mapping system, and over the last month, there have been 43 assaults and homicides within a 2-mile radius of the library. 

Police said more information would be released on the person arrested in the stabbing.

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