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Baffled neighbors pray for Shawnee man stabbed and beaten to death

SHAWNEE, Kan. -- It was a somber sight in what’s typically a positive, quiet Shawnee neighborhood filled with families.

On Wednesday night, more than a dozen moms, dads and their kids held hands, bowed their heads and prayed for David Paterno and his family.

”This is just so very sad. I feel sorry for him and his family. This really has disturbed the peace here,” one neighbor said.

Police say what “disturbed the peace” in the cul-de-sac happened just after 1 a.m. Wednesday inside Paterno’s home near West 51st Place and Monticello Road.

Investigators say they went to the house to check out what they called “a physical disturbance.” Once inside, they discovered the 57-year-old father had been severely beaten, stabbed and cut. Paterno died at an area hospital.

”To think that someone had to fight for their life, it just makes me so sad because life is so special,” a neighbor said.

Crime lab technicians with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office spent hours going in and out of Paterno’s home. They carried out small, brown bags and envelopes filled with possible evidence, dusted a black Nissan Altima parked in Paterno’s garage for clues and combed every inch of the homicide scene.

The neighbor, who didn’t want to give FOX4 her name, wept Wednesday night just thinking about Paterno, a man she never met.

”It's just so uncomfortable. It’s so sad for the neighbors, his family, everyone," the neighbor said.

The Metro Squad is expected to provide an update on the homicide investigation Thursday.