Three men are under arrest today in connection with the stabbing death of a U.S. soldier at a military base in Washington state, but police say that though they originally suspected the murder was a black-on-white hate crime, they have now ruled out that possibility after interrogating five suspects.
In addition to the three men arrested in the murder of Tevin Geike, a 20-year-old soldier from Summerville, S.C., two more suspects are reportedly helping police with their investigation.
All five suspects are soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Lakewood, Wash., the base where Geike also served.
The primary suspect in the killing is Jeremiah Hill, a 23-year-old soldier who reportedly sought first aid for a cut on his hand, telling a friend that he incurred the laceration when he “stabbed a guy to death over the weekend."
Cedarium Johnson, 21, and Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, also 21 and both soldiers at the base were also under lock and key at Pierce County Jail this morning.
At bout 2:30 Saturday, Geike and two fellow soldiers were walking when a car carrying five others soldiers drove by them. Someone in the car yelled something at the walking soldiers, using the word “white.”
When one of the soldiers on foot yelled back, the car stopped, according to investigators’ accounts, and five African-American men got out and surrounded the smaller group. But when they realized that the other men were also combat soldiers, they returned to their car.
But one of the men bumped into Geike on his way back to the car, witnesses told police. As the car pulled away, Geike collapsed and died from what police described at multiple stab wounds.
Police now say that they have interviewed all five suspects in the case and have determined that race was not a factor in Geike’s death. But his friends were unconvinced.
SOURCES: WIS TV, Charleston Post and Courier