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Grand Forks man in serious condition following home stabbing by burglar

Grand Forks police officer Dan Braaten, left, and Sgt. Jay Middleton canvas a southend neighborhood Thursday after an early morning burglary and stabbing in the area. (Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald staff photographer)

A south Grand Forks man is in serious condition at Altru Hospital after, police say, he was stabbed in the chest at his home early this morning when he confronted a burglar early this morning.

Tom Schirrek's condition was provided by a hospital nursing supervisor this afternoon after police released his identity.

Schirrek, his wife Lisa and their three children were at home when the incident occurred, police said. Lisa Schirrek and the children were unharmed physically, police said.

Today, police canine Reno was sniffing around nearby Bringewatt Park and nearby areas while uniformed and plain-clothed officers knocked on doors in the neighborhood north and northeast of the park. Officers reminded residents today to check home and garage doors, windows and screens and to make sure their properties are locked up or secured.

Officers responded at about 2:45 a.m. to 2311 S. 22nd St. A woman living there said the burglar cut the screen of an open window to gain entry into the home. Officers were told the male intruder was in a physical altercation with a man in the home, stabbing the resident in the chest with a knife.

The suspect is described as a white male about 30 years old, 5-foot-11, 230 to 240 pounds with brown close cut hair, facial stubble, wearing a black sleeveless shirt and dark pants. The suspect may have had some type of black cloth or black tape wrapped around one of his hands, police said this afternoon.

"It's tough to think a guy that big could get through that window," Eaton said.

Neighbor Bruce Eaton and his wife were awakened early this morning by the sound of police radios and an approaching ambulance, he said. Eaton stayed with the victim's three children while his neighbor was rushed to the hospital.

While searching for the suspect, officers found a second open window about 90 minutes later at 2014 24th Ave. S. where the screen had been cut. No apparent entry had been gained and nothing appeared to be missing, police said.

"You hear things like this happen, but when you've not had it happen in your neighborhood, you don't worry about it too much," Eaton said. Asked whether he feels safe in the neighborhood now, Eaton replied, "Not terribly."

The investigation is continuing, police said. Anyone with information should call Grand Forks Police at (701) 787-8000.