According to USA Today, the victim, 20-year-old Tevin A. Geike from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was killed early Saturday after an altercation that began with a racial insult shouted at the white soldiers by one of five black men in a passing car.
Geike, who hailed from Summerville, S.C., was walking with two other soldiers, one of whom told police that a passenger in a passing vehicle “made some comment about them being white.” The soldiers were heading to a party to celebrate Geike’s upcoming discharge from the U.S. Army.
Five black men emerged from the car and surrounded the soldiers. A verbal confrontation ensued, but ended when one of the blacks discovered the soldiers were combat veterans. As the group returned to its car, one of the assailants appeared to bump into Geike, who fell, clutching his chest. He had been stabbed near the heart and was bleeding profusely. EMTs were summoned, but Geike died at the scene.
The assailants drove off and are now at large. Police are searching for a midnight blue sedan and five black males in their mid-20s. Station KIRO reported Monday that three suspects had been booked into Pierce County jail on investigation of murder charges and could be linked to the case.
Lakewood Police spokesman Chris Lawler told The (Tacoma) News Tribune:
At this point, it appears that it could have been a hate crime. We’re certainly looking at it now as a potential hate crime. We’re not going to say that it is, but according to two guys at the scene, it appears to be racially motivated.
UPDATE: The Independent Journal Review reports (via Weasel Zippers) that no hate crime enhancement will be added to the charges faced by the suspects of this unspeakable crime. Lakewood, Wash., police will release more details at a press conference that is scheduled for noon, Pacific Time.