A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier was stabbed to death in Lakewood, Pierce County, early this morning in what police described as a racially tinged confrontation.
The Lakewood Police Department reported that the man, 20, and two other active-duty soldiers were walking at 2:38 a.m. in the 12500 block of Pacific Highway Southwest when someone in a vehicle reportedly yelled something about the soldiers being white.
When one of the soldiers yelled back a comment about treating combat soldiers with disrespect, the car turned around and stopped next to them in a parking lot in the largely industrial area. Five men climbed out of the car and surrounded the soldiers as the verbal confrontation continued, according to the account provided to police by the victim’s friends.
When the driver determined the men were actually soldiers, he summoned his passengers back to the car. As they left, one appeared to bump a soldier, who fell to the ground as the car sped away.
“It was then that they discovered the victim had been stabbed and was bleeding profusely. The victim died at the scene,” according to a statement issued by police Lt. Chris Lawler.
Police and an emergency medical crew were called to the parking lot along Pacific Highway where the victim fell.
The suspects’ vehicle was described as a midnight-blue sedan similar to a BMW or Volkswagen Jetta, with tinted windows, stock rims and low-profile tires.
Descriptions were provided of four of the suspects, all reportedly black men believed to be in their early- to mid-20s.
The primary suspect was described as 6 foot 1, of medium build, wearing a blue zip-up hoodie. The driver was described as 5 foot 7, with short-cropped hair and wearing a shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes.
Two others were about 5 foot 7, one with short hair and a gray tank top, the other with camouflage pants possibly designed for paintball. There was no description of the fifth suspect.
The Police Department has asked that anyone with information about the incident, the suspects or the vehicle to call 253-798-4721.