Downtown Stabbing That Killed 23-year-old Burlington Man Apprehended

Burlington police arrested Von C. Simmonds, age 40, on Thursday. They think he stabbed and killed Abubakar Sharif, age 23, early on Sunday morning.

Friday morning, Simmonds went to court and pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, Josh O’Hara, said in an email that he had nothing to say.

Around 3 a.m., the stabbing happened in Paisanos, a pizza place on Main Street between Honey Road and Muddy Waters. According to police reports based on interviews with witnesses and security camera footage, Sharrif was trying to stop a fight between two men in their twenties that he knew when Simmonds got involved, got a 7-8 inch kitchen knife from behind the restaurant’s counter, and stabbed Sharif in the chest. Assistant medical examiner Sarah Mariani says the knife went through his lung and cut the left ventricle of his heart, which is what killed him. When the police got to Sharrif, he was only taking short breaths and didn’t have a pulse.

Police say that the death on Sunday was Burlington’s fifth this year.

Downtown stabbing that killed 23-year-old Burlington man apprehended.

source: wcax.

In a press conference on Friday, the acting chief of the Burlington Police Department, Jon Murad, told Sharif’s family that he was sorry for their loss.

“Nothing we can do here can bring someone back,” he said. “All we can do is try to make sure that the person who did it gets the right kind of justice, and hopefully that will send a message that stops these kinds of things from happening again.”

Because it was late when the stabbing happened, the downtown patrol officers who were on Church Street to help close down bars had already left the area. Murad said that officers usually leave the area around Church Street around 2:30 or 2:45 a.m. and then drive their cruisers around the city to keep an eye on things. The City of Burlington is still offering to pay state troopers to work overtime shifts to help patrol downtown when bars close, but Murad said that not many troopers have taken the city up on the offer.

Murad said that police think Simmonds had nothing to do with the first fight between the young men in Peisanos and that he did not know any of the young men. According to police descriptions of the security camera footage, Simmonds also tried to hit the fighting men with a table and chairs before stabbing Sharrif. One of the men in the fight said he knew Simmonds but didn’t know his name. Murad said that the police have no idea why Simmonds joined the fight.

In the affidavit, the police said that Simmonds was on federal probation when he was caught.

Burlington Police said that Simmonds lived at the homeless shelter ANEW Place on North Street. He was arrested there without any trouble. Northwest State Correctional Facility is holding him without bail.

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