Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped take down a gunman on a train in Belgium, was stabbed four times in the chest in Sacramento early Thursday morning, Air Force Times has learned.
“A1C Spencer Stone has been transported to a local hospital, and is currently being treated for injury,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said in an email in Air Force Times. “The incident is currently under investigation by local law enforcement. He is currently in stable condition.”
Sacramento Deputy Police Chief Ken Bernard said Stone was with four other friends – one male and three females – when they got into a dispute with another group of people that culminating in Stone being stabbed.
“He is currently being treated for what appears to be non-life threatening but very significant injuries,” Bernard said during a news conference on Thursday. “The assault does not appear to be a random act. It’s believed to be related to a nightclub incident.”
The incident was not an act of terrorism or a hate crime, said Bernard, who repeatedly declined to answer questions about how the altercation started. Police are looking for two suspects, described as Asian men wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans who drove a gray or black Toyota Camry.
Police have not yet spoken to Stone, so they don’t know if he was drinking before the assault, said Bernard, who added that police believe “folks in his party were drinking that evening.”
On Aug. 21, Stone and two friends Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, bravely disarmed and subdued a gunman on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. The gunman stabbed Stone about an inch-and-a-half from his carotid artery and nearly severed Stone’s thumb during the struggle.
Stone later told reporters that he did not hesitate to charge the gunman even though he fully expected to be killed.
“I’m not going to run away,” he told reporters on Sept. 15. “I’m not going to leave everyone to die. I’d rather die trying than sit back and watch everyone get slaughtered.”
Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler all received France’s Legion of Honor. Stone was later awarded the Purple Heart and Airman’s Medal. Four days ago, he posted a picture on Instagram after receiving Belgium’s highest honor from that country’s prime minister.
A Sacramento TV station reported that Thursday’s stabbing happened about 12:45 a.m. on a Sacramento street corner.
The victim suffered “multiple stab wounds to his torso,” ABC10 Sacramento reported. Police initially said he was in critical condition but is now expected to survive.
Although the Air Force has identified Stone as the stabbing victim, Sacramento police have not officially named the person who was stabbed.
Sacramento police said they received a call from about the stabbing from a passerby, a news release says.
“It is believed that the victim was out with a group of friends when a physical altercation led to the victim being stabbed multiple times in his upper body,” the news release says. “Detectives were called to the scene to assist with the investigation and the victim is currently being treated for what appears to be non-life threatening injuries.”
The news release does not include the name of the man stabbed, who is only identified as “a man in his 20s.”
“The Sacramento Police Department respects the identity of all crime victims and appreciates your patience as we work to provide you with further details,” the news release says.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James posted on Facebook on Thursday that she was saddened to hear that Stone had been involved in the stabbing incident.
“His injuries are serious but he is in stable condition,” James wrote. “Many of you know that he risked his life weeks ago to save many lives during a French train attack. The circumstances for today’s incident are under investigation by the local law enforcement. Meanwhile, please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”