Victim identified in fatal stabbing on university campus

Authorities reported a man was dead at the scene after an apparent homicide at Sonoma State University on Sunday.

Just before 6 p.m., emergency dispatchers sent two ambulances to the Sonoma State campus in response to a reported stabbing in Sauvignon Village, school officials told the Press Democrat. Authorities were able to take a suspect into custody near the scene and the campus remained open.


According to Lt. Tim Lyons of the Petaluma Police Department neither individual is a student at Sonoma State.

“At no point were other students at risk, but we are asking any individuals who maybe witnessed something to contact the Petaluma Police Department,” Lyons said.

According to the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office the victim was identified as Stephen John Garcia, a 26-year-old Santa Rosa man. Garcia was found dead in one of the dorm bedrooms after an apparent altercation with the suspect, 19-year-old Tyler J. Bratton of Santa Rosa. During the altercation Bratton allegedly stabbed Garcia with a pocketknife, according to authorities.

While neither individual is enrolled at Sonoma State, according to police the men are both friends with the freshman woman that lives in the dorm where the incident occurred. Petaluma police are investigating the fatal stabbing but haven’t released any information on the possible motive.

“All of us at Sonoma State are shocked and saddened by this tragic event,” said university President Judy K. Sakaki in a statement sent to the campus community. “Our hearts go out to all of those who have been impacted.”

The university announced via email that finals would continue as scheduled. Any students looking for support are encouraged to visit the NomaCares Center, which will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the University Library.

No further information is available at this time. Please check back for updates as they become available.