Update: Hate Crime Ruled Out as Motive in Soldier's Stabbing Death

Tevin A. Geike, 20, was found in a parking lot in Lakewood, Washington, with stab wounds Saturday.

Posted: 10/08/2013 10:54 AM EDT

(Photo: Tevin A. Geike via Facebook)

UPDATE: 

Police say that the stabbing death of Tevin A. Geike, a white soldier, by African-American men was not racially motivated. Authorities ruled out hate crime as a motive after interviewing everyone involved in the incident.

Authorities were originally exploring the possibility of a hate crime because the suspects called out the word "cracker" to Geike and his friends. They now say the incident stemmed from "trash talk that got out of hand," according to Reuters.

The three suspects who were arrested served in the same combat infantry unit as Geike. Jeremiah Hill, 23, was named as the main suspect. Cedarium Johnson, 21, and Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, 21, were also accused. Police are still seeking two other men. 


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Police in Lakewood, Washington, are looking for five Black suspects in the stabbing death of Tevin A. Geike, a white soldier, early Saturday morning. The incident may have been racially motivated.

Geike and two other soldiers were walking when a group of African-American men pulled up to them in a car and yelled out “cracker” to Geike and his friends, according to the Seattle Times. The soldiers responded to the verbal attack, asking, “So this is how we treat combat veterans now?”

The men in the car then got out of the car to confront Geike and his company. The driver of the vehicle reportedly told the other Black men to end the confrontation after they realized that Geike and his friends were combat soldiers.

As they returned to the car, one of the suspects appeared to bump into Geike. He then began bleeding and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical workers, according to his friends. 

“If what they’re telling us is true,” Police Lt. Chris Lawler said of the surviving friends, according to the Times, “these soldiers could have been targeted because they’re soldiers or because they’re white.”

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