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Son accused of stabbing father to death shows disturbing trend of increase in domestic homicides, police say

Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis says the increase in homicides in the county is due to adult sons killing their parents.

VIENNA, Va. — A man accused of stabbing his father to death, a beloved George Mason professor, was arraigned in Fairfax County Court Monday. Axel Buschmann is charged with second-degree murder after Dr. Michael Buschmann was fatally stabbed Wednesday.

The GMU community is in mourning after the death of professor Dr. Michael Buschmann.

“It was really a devastating blow, stunning,” Dr. Kenneth Ball, dean of George Mason's College of Engineering and Computing, said of Michael Buschmann's death. “For a lot of us, it is hard to believe that this happened."

Ball brought Buschmann to the university to chair the bioengineering department. Ball said he spoke with the 59-year-old the afternoon he died.

“You don't have to talk to him very long to figure out that he was just brilliant and just inquisitive and really just wanted to know everything about everything,” Ball added.

Credit: Fairfax County Police

Now Fairfax County Police want to know what led to his death. They said the professor's son, Axel Buschmann, was found walking down the road not far from his father's house with a kitchen knife -- he was covered in blood. Officers later found his father inside their home. The elder Buschmann had been stabbed to death.

This is the latest in a string of domestic killings Fairfax's police chief says is responsible for an increase in homicides.

In 2020, Fairfax Police investigated 15 homicides. Last year, that number jumped to 21 and so far in 2022, there have been five.

Since the beginning of 2021, the county has seen six homicide victims who have been murdered, allegedly, by adult sons inside their own homes.

“That's what's driving our homicides,” Police Chief Kevin Davis explained. “That's something that continues to plague the community.”

Chief Davis said he's still trying to wrap his head around these domestic incidents.

“We want to figure out why and then we want to work with the broader community to find out ways to do the impossible -- to put our nose under the tent and get inside people’s homes, and by get inside people’s homes I mean that figuratively, to see what we can do about ongoing family disputes before they turn deadly because that certainly is a trend and a pattern locally and probably nationally,” he said.

We've learned police are planning to add several more crisis-intervention-trained officers in the new budget.

“The approach that we have to take as a society is to determine if we’re doing enough with intervention,” Davis said. “Are we doing enough with our mental health providers and the services we provide to people who are in crisis?”

Dr. Buschmann's wife was also a professor in the bioengineering department. So, it is mourning the loss of one researcher, while trying to support another. Dr. Ball said the school will dedicate the department's tenth anniversary next month to Dr. Buschmann's memory.

Axel Buschmann is scheduled to be back in court April 14 for a preliminary hearing. He is currently being held in the Adult Detention Center without bond.  

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