5 men stabbed in brawl outside Spanaway tavern, suspect arrested

TACOMA, Wash. -- Five men were stabbed during a large fight outside a tavern in Spanaway Thursday night, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said Friday. One suspect was arrested.

Just before 10 p.m. Thursday, several deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a large fight outside TJ's Tavern on Pacific Avenue in Spanaway, the department said. When deputies arrived, several people were still fighting in the parking lot, the department said, and multiple people were yelling that they had been stabbed.

The witnesses pointed to an area where the suspect was believed to have fled. He was found standing next to a van.

"The suspect's hands were covered in blood, he had trouble standing, his speech was slurred and he smelled of a very strong odor of intoxicants. The suspect's hands had multiple wounds on them. Deputies located a folding knife on the ground next to the van; the knife was covered in blood and there were blood smears on the hood of the van as well," the department said.

"Multiple witnesses told the deputies that the incident started when a heavily intoxicated man started causing problems with numerous patrons in the tavern; when the man was convinced to leave, he became involved in an argument with another patron while on his way out the door. The argument reportedly turned into a physical fight in the parking lot where punches were exchanged between the two men.

"Witnesses said that multiple other people attempted to separate the two men, as several other people attempted to join in the fight - as one witness said 'that's when all hell broke loose.' At one point the intoxicated man displayed a knife and began swinging it around at the other people involved in the fight, wounding several victims," the department said.

The suspect and several victims were taken to area hospitals for medical treatment. The 45-year-old suspect was later booked into the Pierce County Jail on five counts of 2nd-degree assault.