Three Washington-based soldiers have been arrested in connection with Saturday morning’s stabbing death of Summerville native Army Spc. Tevin Geike, police said Monday.
Police in Lakewood, Washington had initially said they were investigating the death as a possible hate crime. However, on Monday, an announcement said investigators no longer believe race was a motivating factor in the death. Geike had been serving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord located nearby.Geike, who is white, was walking with Army companions in the suburb roughly 40 miles south of Seattle Saturday morning. His fellow soldiers told officers that a car containing five black males drove past and its occupants yelled “something about being white.” One of the pedestrians yelled back. That led to a confrontation between the men in the car and the pedestrians. The witnesses said the car’s driver eventually convinced his passengers to get back into the car, but one of the passengers stabbed Geike while walking back.
On Monday, police said all five men in the car were also soldiers at Lewis-McChord. The Associated Press reports the main suspect is 23-year-old Jeremiah Hill. Hill had requested first aid for a stab wound on his hand. Police said another soldier told them Hill said he cut his hand while stabbing a man to death. Investigators say Hill is not cooperating.
Two other soldiers, 21-year-old Cedarium Johnson and 21-year-old Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, were also arrested. Police say at least two of the five suspects are cooperating with them so far. After interviewing those involved, police say they no longer believe the stabbing was racially motivated.
Geike was assigned to a combat aviation unit. According to Geike’s Facebook page, he joined the Army in October 2010 and arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in April 2011. He is a graduate of Stall High School in North Charleston.
All three of the arrested soldiers are assigned to a combat infantry unit, police say.