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Police Investigate Mass. Ave. Stabbing

Disclose Identity of Victim but Keep Silent on Case's Other Aspects

By Charles G. Kels

The Cambridge police investigation into Friday night's stabbing east of the Square on Mass. Ave. continued yesterday, but police remained mum on most details, releasing only the name of the victim.

Cambridge police have identified Laurence Cooper, 51, as the homeless man who was stabbed repeatedly in the heart and throat at 6:40 p.m. Friday on the corner of Mass. Ave. and Ellery Street.

Cooper, who was carrying a driver's license, last lived at the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans at 17 Court St. in Boston.

Witnesses told police that Cooper had been arguing with another man prior to the episode.

After the stabbing, Cooper was rushed to Mass. General Hospital, where he was treated for a two inch by one inch laceration to the throat.

Sgt. Detective Patrick G. Nagle of the Cambridge Police Investigation Unit said Cooper has not regained consciousness and is still in critical condition.

Police have been unable to locate any of Cooper's relatives, Nagle said.

The detective said the homicide is still under investigation but would not reveal whether the police had any definite suspects.

Police did describe the attacker as a 5'8" stocky white male with white hair, a full round face, a dark waist coat and a cap.

"There have been some witnesses to the incident and we're following up on all leads," Nagle said.

Twelve officers responded to the incident, which took place only a few blocks from Harvard Square at 1033 Mass. Ave., in front of the furniture store Dynasty Gallery, Nagle said.

Nagle said the officers cordoned off the crime scene and initiated an ongoing joint investigation with state and city police.

He said that the area was heavily populated at the time of the incident, and added that he believes there were between 40 and 50 witnesses to the attack.

He said that any witnesses who have not notified the police should call him directly at 349-3370.

Middlesex County District Attorney Martin F. Murphy could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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