Police have arrested an apparently homeless man from Utah who is suspected of randomly stabbing three people in Spokane, sending two to the hospital with serious injuries.
Joseph W. Murray, 35, was arrested Tuesday and charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree assault and remains in the Spokane County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
Within the span of about an hour Tuesday afternoon, according to court records, Murray ran up to a young man and woman walking by the Spokane Convention Center and attacked them with a knife, then drove to the Union Gospel Mission – where he was recently forced to leave – and plunged a blade into a man’s back and side multiple times.
In a probable cause affidavit accompanying Murray’s first hearing before Superior Court Judge Michael Price, Detective Nick Geren with the Spokane Police Department wrote that Murray’s crime spree began at about 3:30 p.m. along Spokane Falls Boulevard when the 35-year-old attacked 21-year-old Michael Hallock and 19-year-old Makayla Goozmer, stabbing Hallock in the chest.
Multiple witnesses reported seeing Hallock running from Murray as he chased him along the street, records say. One witness said she was sitting in a car when Hallock ran up and told her he had been stabbed. Another reported seeing him collapse on the sidewalk near Browne Street.
Arriving officers noted blood pouring from a 1 1/2-inch-wide wound in Hallock’s chest; the victim apparently suffered a collapsed lung. He was transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he was treated and released. The slash wound to Goozmer’s arm required stitches.
Other witnesses described Murray calmly placing the knife back into a pink backpack he was wearing before walking away from the scene. A convention center surveillance camera captured part of the incident on video.
Later that afternoon at about 4:15 p.m., 41-year-old Jimmie Bailey was reportedly standing near a light pole on the north side of the Union Gospel Mission building on Trent Avenue smoking a cigarette when he felt a “sharp pain in his back.”
“He tried to keep the defendant at bay with his feet,” Geren wrote in court records. “The defendant did not say anything prior to, during or after the assault.”
A witness who was outside saw Murray stab Bailey “numerous times” with a “large kitchen knife,” records say. The victim, whose injuries were life-threatening, described the weapon as a silver, 8-inch-long serrated blade with a round handle.
Bailey was in satisfactory condition Thursday at Sacred Heart.
The witness of the stabbing was joined by others in chasing Murray on foot. Murray ran north of Trent Avenue and got into a parked Toyota 4Runner with a Utah license plate and drove away, a witness told police.
With the help of the Union Gospel Mission, police determined Murray’s identity based on a physical description and details of the vehicle. The men’s homeless shelter provided police with his name and a black and white photograph.
Reached by phone Thursday, the Union Gospel Mission confirmed Murray had stayed at the shelter for several weeks starting on Sept. 10. Workers said he was kicked out on Oct. 22 for refusing to do chores.
Murray was taken into custody Tuesday evening at a Zip Trip convenience store on Illinois Avenue in the Logan Neighborhood. Records say the arresting officer noticed blood on Murray’s hands and found bloody paper towels tucked in his pockets.
Murray was interviewed by Geren, who noted the defendant had blood on his pants and possibly his boots and had several injuries on his hands and fingers.
Records say Murray would not admit to either incident; however, when “confronted with the facts of these cases, Murray would simply state, ‘OK.’ ”
A search warrant was generated and signed Wednesday to collect Murray’s DNA. His arraignment hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
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