LAKEWOOD, WASHINGTON (KIRO/WCSC/AP) - Police say they have arrested three soldiers in connection to the death of a 20-year-old Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier from Summerville who was stabbed to death last weekend in Washington.
Authorities say 23-year-old Jeremiah Hill, 21-year-old Cedarium Johnson and 21-yearj Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, all JBLM soldiers, were locked up at the Pierce County Jail early Monday morning for the death of Tevin Geike, a 2010 graduate of R.B. Stall High School in North Charleston.
According to the News Tribune, Hill was arrested after reportedly telling his friend that he had cut his hand after he "stabbed a guy to death over the weekend." Prosecutors say the suspects will not be charged and arraigned until Tuesday in Geike's death.
On Sunday afternoon, Lakewood police detectives were contacted by a military sergeant who reported that he had information regarding Geike's stabbing death. KIRO-TV news reports that the sergeant received information from a soldier that Hill had asked for medical care for a knife wound on his right hand.
Police say the soldier said Hill told him he cut his hand when he "stabbed a guy to death over the weekend." Investigators say the soldier didn't believe Hill at first, but reported the incident to his sergeant. The sergeant said when he confronted Hill about the information, Hill said he sustained the injury while he was chopping vegetables.
Officials with Lakewood police report that the soldier took Hill to Madigan Hospital, where Hill reportedly told staff that he injured his hand cutting a parachute cord.
Additionally, investigators say they have spoken to a 21-year-old soldier who admitted being at the scene of the stabbing, and is cooperating with the investigation. All five suspects believed to be involved are on active duty at the base, according to investigators.
While investigators initially said they were working to determine if the stabbing was racially motivated, they have decided that was not the case after interviewing everyone involved.
Authorities say the stabbing happened shortly after 2:30 a.m. Saturday in a parking lot when a vehicle passed by three white, active-duty JBLM soldiers and yelled something about being "white." One of the soldiers then yelled back something about the men treating combat soldiers with disrespect.
Officials say the car turned around and stopped next to the soldiers. Five black men got out of the car, surrounded the soldiers and an argument ensued, police said.
Investigators say the driver called the other men back to the car when he realized the trio really were combat soldiers.
Witnesses said as the group returned to the vehicle, one of the men bumped into Geike. Geike's friends told police they saw him fall to the ground as the car drove away.
Police say Geike suffered multiple stab wounds and died at the scene a short time later.
Glenn Zimmerman, a friend of Geike, said, "I want to find the people that did it so bad. He was only 20 years old [...] What was it all over, just cause they were some white boys?" said Zimmerman.
Zimmerman said Geike was about to be discharged from the Army and was getting ready to move off base in five days. He was out with friends celebrating when he was stabbed.