Slashing suspect saw ‘demons’ night before attacking a random stranger outside Tucson store

Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 7:29 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - An accomplished Tucson musician accused of trying to kill a random stranger earlier this year gave a chilling warning the night before the crime.

Michael Moynihan is a convicted felon diagnosed with serious mental health disorders -- schizophrenia and bipolar.

He’s admired by peers in the music industry and supported by friends and family.

But the dark side of the disorders reared its ugly head one time too many.

Caught on a security camera outside a Home Depot, Michael Moynihan suddenly bolts towards a random stranger leaving the store and strikes.

A 911 caller reported, I just saw some guy cut another guy in the neck.”

Moynihan ran off, but he’s arrested about two blocks away after flagging down officers who say he “made utterances that he tried to kill someone.”

He told police “he was excited that he was able to go through with the stabbing” and “he would try to kill someone if he was released from jail.”

This isn’t the first time Moynihan has been in handcuffs and jail after bizarre and dangerous behaviors.

Three years earlier at his apartment complex, tenants reported he had “acted strange and paranoid about government spooks”.

One had called 911.

The tenant told the 911 dispatcher, “It looks like he’s carrying a black object. It’s a black shotgun, it seems like. And then he asks me -- do you work for the government? Am I there to spy on them?”

Police found a Remington 870 shotgun box in his apartment.

Later that day, Moynihan showed up with a handgun at a Circle K on Speedway.

911 Caller: “We have a guy outside who’s waving a gun.”

Dispatcher: “Is he pointing it at people? What exactly is he doing?”

911 Caller: “Yeah, he pointed it at a couple of employees here.”

Court records reveal while “dancing and singing in the parking lot.”

He fled to New York with both weapons but got caught.

Moynihan “spent several months at Riker’s Island in the mental health unit” before he was allowed to post-bond and return to Tucson with his family.

He reached a plea deal -- 4 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon reduced to 1.

A judge sentenced him to 5 years probation and his conditions of release included taking his prescribed medications.

Moynihan told the court, “his focus and that of his friends and family is to make certain he never again stands before a judge to be sentenced.”

But something went seriously wrong halfway through the probation period.

The night before the stabbing, he uttered something bizarre and chilling to his mother.

Moynihan told her he was “seeing demons” and “wanted to kill someone.”

The next morning, she stated he was “acting weird and left walking to the Home Depot.”

TPD reports she never called the police.

Why didn’t she?

Sgt. Erin Gibson explained, “That happens a lot.”

Gibson runs the Pima County Sheriff’s Mental Health Unit.

She explained there’s often a fear of what might happen.

Sgt. Gibson said, “That we’ll go out there and oh, I don’t want them to be arrested. Well they didn’t commit a crime.”

She said others worry about retaliation for reporting alarming behavior that *they might become a victim of violence.

In Moynihan’s case, it’s speculation at this point.

13 News Investigates reached out to his defense attorney to find out why the mother didn’t call the police, but we haven’t heard back.

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