Three men arrested early this morning for the fatal stabbing of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier were soldiers themselves, Lakewood police said.
Pierce County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Phil Sorensen said the men will not be charged and arraigned until Tuesday in the death of Spc. Tevin A. Geike, 20.
Investigators received a tip Sunday by a military sergeant who had information about a 23-year-old soldier who requested medical care for a knife wound to his right hand. That soldier told a friend that he cut his hand when he “stabbed a guy to death over the weekend,” Lt. Chris Lawler said.
The friend, who didn’t believe the story, eventually reported the incident to his sergeant. When the sergeant confronted the soldier, he allegedly claimed he cut his hand while chopping vegetables. He later told hospital staff he cut his hand while severing a parachute cord.
Geike was killed early Saturday morning while walking with two other active duty soldiers in the 12500 block of Pacific Highway Southwest. Police said a car with five black men – now known to be soldiers themselves - drove by and allegedly yelled a disparaging racial remark to the white servicemen.
One of the soldiers yelled back something about the passing men disrespecting combat soldiers and the car stopped in a nearby parking lot.
Geike’s friends told detectives the men surrounded them and the altercation continued until the driver determined Geike and his friends truly were soldiers. As the men walked back to their car, one of the soldiers “bear hugged” Geike and he fell to the ground. His friends then realized he’d been stabbed.
Geike died at the scene.
Detectives interviewed one of the soldiers believed to be in the car, who admitted they confronted Geike and his friends but left once they realized they were also soldiers. He told police the main suspect bear hugged Geike and pushed him to the ground.
“The soldier told us that (the suspect) was covered in blood when he got in the car and they discovered he had stabbed the victim and cut himself,” Lawler said.
Police allegedly corroborated the story with another soldier believed to have been in the car. The main suspect asked for a lawyer and refused to talk to detectives, Lawler said.
A motive remains unknown. Detectives searched the suspects’ barracks and seized the blue sedan driven the night of Geike’s death.
Two of the soldiers arrested on suspicion of murder are 21; the main suspect is 23.
Geike was an aviation operations specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, the base said.
The Summerville, S.C., native joined the Army in October 2010 and came to JBLM in April 2011.