Point Defiance stabbing suspect arrested after leading police on cross-country chase


A suspect in the Feb. 10 stabbing of a walker in Point Defiance Park was arrested Friday at the San Francisco airport as he was trying to flee the country.

The random stabbing of the park visitor as she walked Point Defiance's trails near the Five-Mile Drive shocked Tacoma and put park users on edge. The victim was hospitalized with serious injuries. She later appeared a press conference to tell her story. She declined to identify herself.

The suspect fled after his attack was interrupted by passers-by, and Metro Parks Tacoma subsequently shut down the park for the remainder of the day.

Tacoma police detectives created a sketch of the suspect using descriptions from the victim and witnesses. It was released to the public on Feb. 18.

Using tips and evidence collected at the scene, Tacoma police detectives were able to identify the suspect. They learned he had fled the state. Police then obtained a confidential, attempted murder in the first degree warrant with nationwide extradition.

"Our detectives, assisted by the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force and the Port of Seattle Police Department, learned the suspect was possibly in Atlanta, Georgia," police said Friday.

After flying to Atlanta, detectives attempted to apprehend the suspect with the help of the Federal Marshal's Fugitive Task Force. However, he had left Georgia, and detectives learned he was attempting to flee the United States.

On Friday, Tacoma police, federal marshals and the San Francisco Police Department intercepted the suspect at San Francisco International Airport around 10:30 a.m. Friday as he was on a layover between Atlanta and his foreign destination.

Tacoma Police spokesman Detective William Muse said the suspect had been a Puget Sound resident for several years and had no criminal history in Washington. He is originally from the East Coast.

The suspect is being held in a California correctional facility, awaiting extradition to Washington State, police said.