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Citrus Heights man arrested in Halloween stabbing; bail set at $1.5M

Michail Pijenko, Citrus Heights
Michail Pijenko, booking photo. // Source: TCSO

Sentinel staff report–
A Citrus Heights man was arrested after he allegedly stabbed an orthodox monk multiple times with a kitchen knife on Halloween. The incident occurred in a rural monastery located about 150 miles north of Sacramento, in Tehama County.

The suspect, Michail Pijenko, was initially held on $500,000 bail, but that amount increased to $1.5 million following his first court appearance, a Tehama County Sheriff’s detective confirmed with The Sentinel on Saturday. The 47-year-old suspect is charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, with “great bodily injury likely.”

According to a sheriff’s department news release, the incident occurred around 2 a.m. on Oct. 31, when authorities received a call about a disturbance involving an intoxicated guest at the Monastery of St. John, a community of Orthodox Christian monks located in Manton, a rural Northern California town of less than 500 population. Several minutes later, dispatchers received another call that Pijenko had armed himself with a knife, followed by another call that a monk had been stabbed.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived and took Pijenko into custody without incident, the news release said. A kitchen knife was located next to him.

The stabbing victim, Vasili Romanzov, told authorities he had been stabbed twice with a kitchen knife while inside a bathroom at the monastery, in an attack described as “unprovoked.” He then ran for safety at a neighbor’s home and was later taken to a local hospital.

According to KRCR-TV, an ABC affiliate in Redding, Pijenko also attempted to stab the priest who oversees the monastery.

The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Pijenko is a resident of Citrus Heights, which was also reported in the Red Bluff Daily News. He was reportedly visiting the monastery and had previously stayed at the location at least one other time.

Pijenko is scheduled to appear again in court on Tuesday in the Tehama County Superior Court.

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