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Man Broke into Woman’s Apartment, Stabbed Her with ‘Large Rusty Knife,’ Then Tried to Shoot Her: Authorities

Crofton Harris

Crofton Harris

A man sneaked into a woman apartment, stabbed her and tried to shoot her, though the gun failed to go off, according to deputies in Palm Beach County, Florida. Crofton Harris, 47, faces a handful of charges, including attempted first-degree murder with a weapon.

Authorities said they got a 911 call Sunday at 2:41 a.m. about a shooting, according to the partially redacted probable cause affidavit.

Once authorities arrived at the victim’s home, she said that he called her earlier. She hung up on him and went to bed. But he allegedly woke her up several hours later by tapping her.

“She said Harris stated, ‘This is how it’s going to be,’ and began to stab her with a large rusty knife,” deputies said. “She said she kicked at Harris and blocked some of the blows. She said she was stabbed on her leg, left hand, and right elbow.”

Harris took out a black handgun and pointed it at her head, she said. He allegedly threatened to kill her, and he pulled the trigger.

The woman “said the gun made a clicking sound and did not fire,” deputies said. “She said they fought over the gun and during the struggle the gun went off, making a hole in her dress.”

Her daughter, who told deputies about being the one to call 911, intervened.

“She said her daughter [REDACTED] was able to get Harris off of her,” deputies said. “Harris then put the gun to his head and attempted to shoot himself but the handgun wouldn’t fire.”

Harris allegedly took off his jacket, wrapping the victim’s right elbow to stop the bleeding. He left when law enforcement was called, and he took the gun and knife with him, deputies said.

The woman was unsure how Harris entered the apartment because he did not have key, but her daughter told investigators about finding a window open.

“She said after Harris left she noticed a window to the apartment was open,” deputies said. “She said this window was usually locked.”

Previously, the daughter said that she had heard her mother scream.

“She saw Harris on top of her mother physically fighting with her,” deputies wrote, redacting the reason the daughter previously knew of Harris. One of the other charges against Harris is violation of a protective order. Deputies said it was served on July 15 and will remain active until Oct. 15.

According to deputies, the daughter said that Harris fired his gun when she was trying to break him and her mother up in the living room. Harris turned on the lights; she saw her mother’s arm covered in blood, initially believing her mom had been shot. She saw Harris with the black handgun and what she called a “cane knife.” She called 911. Harris left with the gun and knife, deputies said in the affidavit.

According to investigators, the victim sustained cuts to her right arm, right leg, and right hand. They claimed to find a gray hooded sweatshirt with blood on it, a .380 shell casing and a black belt.

Excerpt from the Crofton Harris probable cause affidavit.

Excerpt from the Crofton Harris probable cause affidavit.

“There was a gunshot defect to the couch w[h]ere the projectile entered,” deputies wrote.

Harris was ultimately arrested near his home, authorities said. According to the sheriff’s office, an off-duty deputy was visiting people at a certain residence when he saw Harris — nicknamed “Boo Cat” — come over, speaking to himself.

“He was saying that he did not want to go back to jail,” deputies said. “He also said that, ‘I don’t know why she get me to this point.'”

Harris allegedly said something to the effect of needing to throw a gun in or under the house.

The deputy went to the front of the home, where he saw other deputies taking Harris into custody near a canal.

Harris got his Miranda warning, said he understood it and signed the Miranda card, deputies said.

“He said that he went over to [REDACTED] house and entered the residence through the unlocked window to [REDACTED] room,” authorities said.

He picked up a cane knife in the room, and he woke the woman up by tapping her on the arm with the knife, he allegedly said. They argued, and he eventually cut her on the arm, the affidavit records him saying.

“He said that he accidentally cut her and he removed his gray hooded sweatshirt and wrapped it around her arm,” deputies said. “Crofton said that he felt bad for cutting [REDACTED] and wanted to kill himself. [REDACTED] began pleading with him not to do it and they began struggling over the knife. He eventually left out the front door and shortly after tossed the knife.”

He walked to his mother’s home and then near his home, where encountered the off-duty deputy and others, authorities said. Harris allegedly denied several times about having a gun.

“During the interview he admitted to knowing about a restraining order that [REDACTED] had obtained and he was a convicted felon,” deputies said.

In addition to attempted murder and violation of probation, the other three charges are being a felon in possession of a firearm, shooting into an occupied dwelling, and armed burglary with a battery. Broward County records show he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery on Dec. 11, 1996 and was sentenced to three years and three months in prison.

Harris remains at the Palm Beach County jail without bond. He was appointed a public defender amid his first appearance in this new case on Tuesday.

[Booking photo via Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office]

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