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JBLM soldier killed in off-base altercation

Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier Tevin Geike, 20, was stabbed to death in Lakewood following an altercation with other active-duty JBLM soldiers. Three soldiers were arrested and police are investigating a total of five suspects in the incident.

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TACOMA – Army Pvt. Jeremiah Hill, 23, of Chicago, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday and two other soldiers were charged with rendering criminal assistance for allegedly tampering with evidence in the “senseless and sad” stabbing death of fellow soldier Tevin Geike, 20, on a street early Saturday in Lakewood. All three pleaded not guilty.

Bail was set at $2 million for Hill and $250,000 for Army Spc. Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, 21, of Islesboro, Maine, who was charged with rendering criminal assistance.

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The family of slain Army Spec. Tevin Geike attend the Pierce County Superior Court hearing Tuesday.

Army Pfc. Cedarium Johnson, 21, of Tyler Texas, who was also charged with rendering criminal assistance and who has no prior criminal history, was released to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The victim and defendants are all active-duty soldiers stationed at JBLM.

“This was a senseless and sad murder where a soldier killed a fellow soldier for no reason,” Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said. “Our prayers go out to the family and friends of Specialist Geike. He served our country honorably, and it breaks our hearts to see him lose his life in a cowardly street stabbing.”

At about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Army Spc. Geike, of Summerville, S.C., and two fellow soldiers were walking in the 12500 block of Pacific Ave SW in Lakewood after leaving a party at a nearby motel, the prosecutor’s office said.

“According to a witness, the car passed by the three friends and someone from the vehicle made an unspecified racial slur towards the men on foot,” the prosecutor’s office said in a news release. “Witnesses could not recall what was actually said. The victim and his friends responded that they were combat veterans. The vehicle pulled over, and four of the five men got out and approached Geike and his friends.

“Once it was established that all parties were active-duty soldiers, the occupants of the vehicle began to walk back to the car. It appeared the confrontation had defused. Defendant Hill grabbed the victim, put him in a ‘bear hug’ hold, and stabbed him twice. Hill got back into the car, and the vehicle and its occupants left the scene,” the news release said.

“Hill was covered in blood and told the car’s occupants that he ‘cut’ the victim. Defendant Johnson ordered the car’s driver to proceed to Tillicum, where he then told defendant Runnion-Bareford to throw the knife into the roadside brush. The vehicle belonged to Runnion-Bareford, so when the suspects returned to JBLM, Runnion-Bareford attempted to clean the blood from his vehicle, and parked it several blocks from his barracks to avoid detection.

“Over the weekend, Hill requested assistance from an Army medic to treat a cut on his hand. Hill told the medic that he suffered the cut to his hand when he ‘stabbed someone to death,’” the release said. “Investigators recovered bloody clothing from Hill’s and Johnson’s rooms and also recovered the knife from a roadside in Tillicum.”

The prosecutor’s office said the two suspects who spoke to investigators said race was not a motivating factor in the assault, and the victim’s friends said that the initial slur was the only race-related language used. Two other occupants who were in the vehicle were fully cooperative, the prosecutor’s office said, and detectives do not believe they participated in the stabbing or tampered with evidence. They will not be charged.

An autopsy showed that Geike suffered a superficial stab wound to his right side, followed by a deep stab wound to the front of his chest, which struck his heart.

 

 

tevinTACOMA — Three active soldiers allegedly involved in the death of Army Specialist Tevin Geike will have their first court appearance this afternoon at 1:30 in a Pierce County Courtroom.

Police arrested 21 year-old Jeremiah Hill, 21 year-old Cedarium Johnson and 21 year-old Ajoni Runnion Bareford on Monday in connection with Geike’s murder.

Police say the assault happened early Saturday morning when Geike and some friends were walking on Pacific Highway in Lakewood. According to Lakewood police, five men in a dark blue car, pulled over and began a shouting match with Geike. Afterwards, police say Hill got out of the car and stabbed Geike. Hill got back in the car and the five men took off.

Geike died on the side of the road before paramedics arrived.

On Monday afternoon, Lakewood police located the knife in a wooded area. The three suspect have yet to be charged.

Watch Q13 Fox for updates this afternoon at 4 and 5 p.m. for the latest on this case.

TACOMA — Police have arrested three Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers in connection with the stabbing death of a fellow soldier in Lakewood Saturday morning. One of the three may be charged with murder, Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Monday.

All soldiers involved in this incident were assigned to the 7th Infantry Division at JBLM.

tevinAccording to police, Army Spc. Tevin Geike, of Summerville, S.C., was walking with two friends early Saturday morning along Pacific Highway SW in Lakewood. Geike’s friends told police a group of five men in a blue sedan yelled at them and they yelled back about disrespecting combat veterans.

Police said the five men in the car pulled over to confront Geike and his friends, but the driver of the car told his acquaintances to leave the scene once they discovered Geike was a combat veteran.

“There was minimal discussion once they figured out everybody was active-duty soldiers,” said Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler. “One of the guys in the group of the suspects said, ‘Come on guys lets go, these guys are cool, let’s leave.’”

However, one of the men stabbed Geike to death as his friends were leaving. The five men then fled the scene. Geike was pronounced dead when emergency crews arrived.

Police said they’re still not sure what the motive was in the stabbing.

Spc. Brian Johnson, a friend of Geike, was at the scene when the stabbing occurred and watched as his friend died.

Referring to the suspected killer, Johnson said Monday, “You were a traitor, you betrayed your country. At some point you served your country and now you’ve killed a man that was doing the same.”

But police say one man didn’t walk away — Pvt. Jeremiah Hill, 23, of Chicago, allegedly bear-hugged Geike and stabbed him.

“I was with Tevin as we were walking back,” said Johnson. “I was with him as he died.”

Police said Hill, Pfc. Cedarium Johnson, 21, of Tyler, Texas, and Spc. Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, 21, of Islesboro, Maine, were booked into Pierce County Jail Monday morning. Two other men apparently present at the stabbing were interviewed but not arrested, police said.

Lindquist said only Hill will be facing a possible murder charge; cops say he told a JBLM sergeant he had stabbed someone to death.

“He (Hill) had cut his hand during the assault and asked one of his fellow soldiers for aid,” said Lawler. “When he did, the other soldier asked how he cut his hand. He said, ‘Well, I stabbed and killed somebody over the weekend.’”

The other two suspects may be charged in connection with helping Hill after the incident, said Lindquist.

Emotions ran high at the murder scene, but Geike’s friends are happy to hear about the arrests.

“I hope that they serve him with the worst kind of justice that there is, I really do,” said Geike’s friend Ramona Benningfield. “They deserve every piece of it.”

As for why Hill would stab a fellow soldier and leave him to die on the sidewalk, investigators are puzzled.

“We don’t know,” said Lawler. “The suspect that stabbed the soldier to death elected to not make a statement. He asked for an attorney, which is his right. We didn’t get it from him, and his friends in the car didn’t know why it occurred either.”

Hill, Johnson, and Runnion-Bareford are scheduled to be in a Pierce County courtroom Tuesday.

Police said they located the murder weapon at a wooded location in Tillicum late Monday afternoon.  An organized search was conducted and the weapon was located in the area where it was reported to have been discarded

Geike’s friends promise to hold a vigil in Lakewood where he died at 8 p.m. Friday.

TACOMA — Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Monday they may file murder charges against one JBLM soldier and rendering criminal assistance charges against two others in the death of 20-year-old Spc. Tevin Geike, an active-duty soldier who was stabbed early Saturday morning while walking with friends.

Police said Pvt. Jeremiah Hill, 23, of Chicago, Pfc. Cedarium Johnson, 21, of Tyler, Texas, and Spc. Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, 21, of Islesboro, Maine, were booked into Pierce County Jail Monday morning. Two other men apparently present at the stabbing were interviewed but not arrested, police said.

All soldiers involved in this incident are assigned to the 7th Infantry Division assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

tevinAccording to police, Geike, of Summerville, S.C., was walking with two friends early Saturday morning along Pacific Highway SW in Lakewood. Geike’s friends told police a group of five men in a blue sedan yelled a racial slur at the soldiers, who in return yelled back about disrespecting combat veterans.

However, Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler said, “It appears from interviewing everyone involved that race was not a motivating factor in this homicide.”

Police said the five men in the car pulled over to confront Geike and his friends, but the driver of the car told his acquaintances to leave the scene once they discovered Geike was indeed a combat veteran. However, one of the men stabbed Geike to death as his friends were leaving. The five men then fled the scene. Geike was pronounced dead when emergency crews arrived.

A search was launched early Saturday for the five suspects. A break in the case came when a JBLM sergeant told police that a soldier in his unit told him that Hill had asked for a first aid kit to treat a knife wound on his right hand Saturday afternoon.

Hill allegedly told the soldier he cut his when he hand stabbed a guy to death over the weekend. The sergeant told his superior about Hill, who allegedly changed his story to say he cut his hand while chopping vegetables when confronted. Hill was then taken to the hospital where he told staff he cut his hand while trimming a parachute cord, police said.

Police interviewed Hill’s commanding sergeant and another 21-year-old soldier who was known to spend time with Hill. The 21-year-old said he was with Hill the night of the stabbing, and allegedly confessed to being part of the group that confronted Geike. He said the group was getting back in the sedan when Hill grabbed the victim and seemed to “bear hug” Geike. When they returned to the car, Hill was reportedly covered in blood and they realized he had stabbed Geike and cut himself. The group allegedly drove off and disposed of the knife.

Police learned the names of the other men in the group. A 19-year-old present at the time confirmed the 21-year-old’s version of the events. Police detained Hill, Johnson and Runnion-Barefordthe. Hill was the only suspect who refused to give a statement. His vehicle was also seized as evidence.

All the men involved in the incident are combat veterans.

The case is being sent to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office to determine what charges will be filed against the suspects.

LAKEWOOD — Many around Lakewood said they are “stunned” with the stabbing death of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier Tevin Geike as the hunt for his killer continued on Sunday.

Geike, 20, was an aviation operations specialist from Summerville, South Carolina who had been stationed at JBLM since 2011. According to Lakewood police Geike was killed early Saturday morning while walking with two friends along Pacific Highway Southwest. According to witnesses, a group of five men a midnight blue sedan yelled a racial slur at the soldiers about being white. One of the soldiers yelled back about disrespecting combat veterans.

The men got out of the car and surrounded the soldiers, witnesses said. Investigators said that when the driver realized the three were in fact soldiers, he called off his friends. But one of the men stabbed Geike before they fled.

Friends and family members said this “random act of violence” has taken away an amazing man. Geike’s friend Courtney Turnispeed was half a block away from the incident when she found out her friend was killed.

“It was a random act of violence to someone who did not have it coming,” Turnispeed said.

She finds little solace in the fact that the soldier died knowing he was loved.

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“He left knowing that he was loved,” she said. “He left knowing that we care about him. He left knowing that we were there next to him.”

Detectives are investigating the case as a racially motivated hate crime.

“We are still waiting for reports but if this incident occurred as it’s being alleged, this is the type of case that we would prosecute with exceptional aggressiveness,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

Friends will hold a vigil at the scene of the attack at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Local News
10/05/13

JBLM soldier killed in suspected hate crime

LAKEWOOD – A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier killed in a stabbing has been identified as 20-year-old Tevin Geike. Geike died from injuries he suffered after being stabbed multiple times.

The incident happened around 2:30 a.m Saturday in the 12500 block of Pacific Highway SW in Lakewood. Police said they are looking at the murder as a possible hate crime, but they need to apprehend five suspects allegedly involved in the incident to better determine the cause.

“Truthfully, I still don’t believe it happened,” Candace Marshall said. Marshall said her son was close friends with Geike.

“He was having a party with my family, went for a walk and that is the last time we saw him,” she said.

Marshall said Geike was out celebrating Friday night after being released from the military after serving his contract.

“He was energetic, having fun, and not causing any trouble,” Candace’s son, John Marshall said.

After leaving the motel party, Geike was walking along Pacific Highway SW with two other active duty soldiers when someone in a car shouted out a racial slur — something about them being white.

One of the soldiers with Geike yelled back about disrespecting combat veterans. The car then reportedly turned around and five black men got out of the car and surrounded the soldiers, which led to a verbal altercation.

Lakewood police said when the driver realized that Geike and his friends were combat veterans, he called his friends off but one of the suspects did not listen and stabbed Geike.

Marshall said her son rushed to the scene shortly after the stabbing, but his friend was already dead. “My son believes he is in a nightmare and he will wake up,” she said.

“This is despicable, this is very gut-wrenching. This is a military family,” Army veteran Tyrone Sherrod said. He said he did not know Geike, but he felt it would be best for the suspects to turn themselves in “because this whole community in Lakewood and Tacoma are outraged, and we are not going to stand for it. The saddest part of this whole thing is he died for nothing.”

“It’s upsetting to see that someone who made it through a combat tour, to come back, and his own countrymen are that willing to assault,” Staff Sgt. James Lawrence said.

Police hope surveillance videos from nearby businesses will help them identify the suspects.

The suspect vehicle is described as a midnight blue BMW or VW Jetta with four doors. It has tinted windows and stock rim and low-profile tires.

The suspects are all black males and the main suspect is described as being in his early 20s, about 6-feet, 1-inch tall with a medium build and wearing a blue, zip-up hoodie.

The driver is described as 5-feet, 7-inches tall with short, cropped hair, who was wearing a blue-and-white, horizontal-striped shirt.

The third suspect is described as having short hair and wearing a gray tank top. The fourth suspect is described as being 5-feet, 6- or7-inches tall and was wearing camouflage pants that were described not as “true camouflage” but as a “paintball splat-type” of design.

The fifth suspect is described as 5-feet, 6-inches tall.

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jblm soldierLAKEWOOD — An active duty soldier based at Joint Base Lewis McChord was fatally stabbed early Saturday morning during an altercation with five men in Lakewood.

The soldier was walking with two other soldiers along Pacific Highway SW around 2:40 a.m. when a car with five men drove by, Lakewood police said.

As the car passed the soldiers, someone inside the car reportedly yelled something at them about being “white.” The car then turned around and stopped next to the soldiers, and the occupants got out of the car. All of the car’s occupants were black, police said.

A verbal confrontation between the two groups then allegedly unfolded, but the driver of the car called his friends off after realizing that the soldiers were combat veterans.

As the men got back into the car, one of the men appeared to have bumped into one of the soldiers. The soldier fell to the ground as the suspects drove away. The soldiers on the road then attended to their friend on the ground and discovered he was bleeding profusely, police said. The soldier was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Lakewood police are looking for a midnight blue BMW or VW Jetta with four doors, tinted windows and stock rims with low-profile tires. The suspects are described as black males, in their mid-20s.

The main suspect is described as being in his early 20s and is about 6-feet, 1-inch tall with a medium build and wearing a blue zip-up hoodie. 

The second suspect is the driver and his is described as 5-feet, 7-inches tall with short, cropped hair, who was wearing a blue-and-white, horizontal-striped shirt.

The third suspect is described as being 5-feet, 7-inches tall with short hair and wearing a gray tank top.The fourth suspect is described as being 5-feet, 6- or 7-inches tall and wearing camouflage pants. The pants were described as not being “true camouflage,” but as having a “paintball splat-type” of design. 

The fifth suspect is described as being 5-feet, 6-inches tall.

Anyone has any information on the suspects or the vehicle they were in is asked to contact the Lakewood Police Department. 

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