Police in Lakewood, Washington, say they have arrested three soldiers suspected in the stabbing death of a U.S. soldier that took place over the weekend.
Spc. Tevin A. Geike, 20, died Saturday around 2 a.m. near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he was stationed, base officials told CNN.
Lt. Chris Lawler had told CNN that police were investigating the stabbing as a hate crime, but on Monday morning, he said it appeared after "interviewing everyone involved that race was not a motivating factor in this homicide."
"The main suspect, Jeremiah Hill, did not make a statement; so it’s unknown exactly why he did this," Lawler said Monday in a written statement.
The suspects are also stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and are assigned to a combat infantry unit, according to Lawler.
Police say Geike was walking with two other white soldiers early Saturday when someone riding in a passing car yelled a comment at him. One of the soldiers with Geike then reportedly yelled back something about not disrespecting combat soldiers. The vehicle then stopped and five black men in their mid-20s got out, police said.
The confrontation between the men reportedly escalated as they exchanged words, but the driver allegedly called off his friends after realizing Geike and his companions were soldiers. As they retreated back to the car, one of the men seemed to bump Geike, who then fell to the ground from stab wounds, police said. Geike died at the scene.
Police said they were searching for a midnight blue four-door car, possibly a BMW or a Volkswagen Jetta, with tinted windows, stock rims and low-profile tires.
Base officials also told CNN that Geike, a Summerville, South Carolina, native, was an aviation operations specialist who joined the Army in October 2010.