It appears Sacramento Police have got their man. Thanks for all their hard work catching the scum who stabbed hero Airman Spencer Stone. I live 5 blocks from where Airman Stone was stabbed, and I interviewed witnesses to the crime. One witness said the woman Spencer defended, left with the person who stabbed him.
Sacramento Police have charged a man with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone on Oct. 8, wounding Stone so seriously that he had to undergo open heart surgery.
James Tran was arrested Wednesday morning, police announced in a news release. The stabbing came less than two months after Stone and his friends Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Saddler tackled and disarmed a gunman aboard a French train, preventing a bloodbath.
Investigators have said the assault had nothing to do with the European terror plot and involved an alcohol-fueled fight between two groups in a popular nightclub district. Somers said Tran and his group did not know who Stone was until they saw news reports later.
The investigation is still “active and ongoing” and detectives encourage witnesses who saw the fight to come forward, the police news release says.
“The Air Force as well as Sergeant Stone will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement to help them solve this case,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said in an email to Air Force Times on Wednesday. “We remain thankful to the Sacramento Police Department for their professionalism and dedicated efforts.”
Stone was gravely injured in the Oct. 8 altercation, according to the “Spencer Stone Recovery Account,” an online fundraiser seeking to raise money for Stone’s family.
“He was stabbed 4 times,” according to the gofundme account. “Once in the heart, once in the left lung which collapsed the lung, the liver, and in the back. He had to have open heart surgery to save his life from the knife wound to his heart. Extensive medical surgery.”
[quote_box_left]Airman Spencer Stone Released From Hospital – Had Open Heart Surgery[/quote_box_left]
Tran, who lives outside Sacramento, is considered “the instigator” in the brawl that led to the stabbing, police Chief Sam Somers Jr. said at a news conference. He was arrested early Wednesday on a charge of attempted homicide.
A number of others were questioned in the attack but none has been arrested, Somers said. Police would not say how many others were questioned.
Stone’s injuries were so severe that police initially thought he could die, so they called in detectives who have been investigating public tips on the case ever since, Somers said. One led to Tran in recent days, and arrest and search warrants were issued Tuesday while he was kept under surveillance.
Detectives moved in Wednesday as Tran drove in south Sacramento County and he was arrested without incident. Tran has a previous felony arrest and is affiliated with a gang, but that played no role in the fight, Somers said.
Stone was with three women and another man when other clubgoers praised him at Badlands, a nightclub in Sacramento’s Midtown district. Grainy surveillance video from outside a liquor store about an hour later shows a large man who appears to be Stone fighting a half dozen people at an intersection down the street.
The fight started as a verbal argument after one of the groups videotaped the other, Somers said without elaborating. The police chief would not confirm reports that Stone was helping a woman when the argument began but said Stone’s history shows that “if he feels that something is inappropriate or wrong, he will take action. I’ll leave it that way.”
The two parties then separated, but Tran started it up again, and the fight escalated. During the melee, Tran circled behind Stone and stabbed him multiple times in the back, Somers said.
He faces arraignment Friday on a charge of attempted murder, said Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County district attorney. She did not know if Tran had an attorney.
A separate video released by police showed two men and a woman fleeing in a vehicle, which has been recovered, Somers said.
Stone underwent about two hours of surgery for what hospital officials said were potentially life-threatening wounds. A 24-year-old woman who was with Stone was treated at a hospital for abrasions.
Stone is assigned to Travis Air Force Base, about 50 miles southwest of the state capital. He was promoted from airman to staff sergeant last week. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Airman’s Medal and received France and Belgium’s highest honors for thwarting the gunman in August.
H/T Don Thompson, The Associated Press, and Military Times staff writer, Jeff Schogol.