Investigators mark evidence outside of an apartment at the scene of a triple-stabbing at Springbrook Apartments on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Tenn. Two are dead and a third critically wounded in the stabbing, and Cleveland police say a suspect is in custody.

Photo Gallery

Two women killed, man critically injured in triple stabbing

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The suspect sat handcuffed in the back of a police car, covered in blood from his chin to his waist.

He stared ahead, face blank.

Stephen Jacob Reed, 24, is suspected of stabbing two women to death on Thursday and critically injuring another man at an apartment complex in Cleveland.

Crystal Canino, 33, and Crystal York, 35, were both killed in the attack, which happened at about 11:45 a.m. at the Springbrook Apartments on Blackburn Road, police Sgt. Evie West said.

The surviving man, 35-year-old Anthony Beck, was in critical condition Thursday evening.

Reed, who is also known as Stephen Jacob Gaddis, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder, according to police.

Investigators offered few details about the attack during the first hours of the investigation.

Police confirmed that at least one of the women was stabbed in an upstairs apartment at the complex, which includes several two-story buildings. Blood splattered the door of the apartment, where one woman was found dead when officers arrived. The other two victims were transported for medical care, but only the man survived.

Two witnesses said Reed began his attack at the upstairs apartment, then ran across a yard and a parking lot to a first-floor apartment in another building, where a third person was stabbed. But resident TJ Bradford gave a slightly different version of events. He said a wounded man came to his fiancée's apartment begging for help, stabbed and bloody.

He said his fiancée called 911 after she heard the man banging on the apartment door and said the man may have been stabbed in the stomach.

West could not say whether Reed or a victim ran across the yard, although investigators used orange flags and cones to mark a path between the two buildings, and blood could be seen on the sidewalk outside both buildings.

Police also did not release any sort of motive for the attack. West could not say whether any of the victims were connected to each other or related. She could not say whether Reed knew the victims. She also could not say what sort of weapon was used, or whether police had recovered the weapon.

Neighbors said one of the women who died was dating the man who was stabbed. Neighbor Ricky Casson said the woman and her boyfriend had been fighting for about six weeks.

Four residents separately told the Times Free Press that the woman and her boyfriend used methamphetamine regularly, although police could not confirm that allegation. West said she had no indication drugs played a part in the stabbing and could not offer a motive for the attack.

The apartment complex isn't a dangerous place, residents said. Although police are often called for minor disturbances and fights, it's rare to hear gunshots or see incidents that end in fatalities.

Both of the women who died were mothers.

As the hours ticked by after the stabbings, children who live in the apartment complex began to come home from school, toting backpacks as they walked down a long driveway full of police cars, engines running and blue lights flashing.

Officers escorted the children through the bright yellow crime tape to their apartments.

"Once you get there," one officer told a middle school student, hand on her shoulder, "you need to stay inside."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or with tips or story ideas. Follow @ShellyBradbury.