Police arrest suspect in downtown Santa Cruz stabbing

Santa Cruz County Jail
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Police arrested 64-year-old John Frederick Burke on Wednesday as a suspect in the murder of 36-year-old Neoklis Koumides, less than 48 hours after the incident.

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The Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) has made an arrest in the Monday morning murder of 36-year-old Neoklis Koumides in downtown Santa Cruz.

The suspect, 64-year-old John Frederick Burke, was arrested at his downtown apartment complex around 11 p.m. Tuesday. He was booked into the Santa Cruz County Main Jail on Ocean Street, according to an SCPD release.

At about 5:10 a.m. Monday, emergency personnel responded to a report of a fight by the parking garage on Cedar and Church streets. Upon arrival, Koumides was on the ground, having received at least one stab wound. He died at Dominican Hospital later that day.

Police said they made the arrest after viewing surveillance footage and finding physical evidence supporting witness descriptions.

The relationship between Burke and Koumides remains unclear, but SCPD initially told Lookout that detectives learned through witness interviews that the victims were “somehow acquainted or had known each other from the past.”

Koumides, also known as “Nick the Greek,” was a former Benchlands resident who hosted the podcast “Love Wins,” in which he discussed societal issues with guests and friends.

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