LA CENTER, Wash. — Four people were injured in an apparently random stabbing attack late Monday night at a casino in La Center, and the suspect was later arrested after leading police on a car chase.
Emergency dispatchers received several 911 calls from people at the Last Frontier Casino reporting that at least three people had been stabbed in what was described as an unprovoked attack, according to a news release from the Clark County Sheriff's Office.
Officers and deputies from the sheriff's office, La Center Police Department, Ridgefield Police Department and Cowlitz Tribal Police Department responded to the scene at about 11:47 p.m. Monday.
"What they found was a pretty kind of rapidly unfolding scene, where they had multiple people out bleeding and the suspect had apparently left," said Chris Skidmore with the Clark County Sheriff's Office.
Four victims were taken to the hospital with knife wounds. All four are expected to survive, police said, and three of them were discharged Tuesday morning while one remained under observation at the hospital because of a stab wound near his neck.
"I think that's the important thing, it looks like all the victims are going to survive and you know, not have kind of some time long term deficit or anything related to that," added Skidmore.
The Last Frontier Casino posted a note on its Facebook page Tuesday morning stating that there was "an unprovoked and surprise attack" on casino patrons, and directing further questions to the sheriff's office.
Several employees and visitors said they attempted to confront the suspect but he was armed with a hunting knife. He reportedly fled the scene in a white sedan, heading toward Interstate 5.
Detectives later reviewed video footage from the casino, police said, which showed the suspect sitting at a poker table and then, just after he played a hand, he reached down with his right hand and grabbed something, then without warning stood up and appeared to stab the man sitting next to him five times in the head and chest.
Multiple other customers tried to intervene, but he began swinging the knife at them and stabbed one of them. The suspect then apparently stabbed a woman at the poker table three times, then chased a man into the parking lot and stabbed him two times after he fell to the ground. The suspect was then seen getting into his car and driving off.
At 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, deputies saw a car matching a description of the suspect's vehicle heading south on Interstate 205, and began to pursue it. The car didn't stop and eventually exited onto Northeast Padden Parkway and continued to flee at speeds between 90 and 110 miles per hour.
The suspect car eventually slowed down and police immobilized it east of the intersection with 137th Avenue and took the driver into custody without further incident, confirming that he matched the physical description of the suspect in the stabbing.
He was later identified as Scott R. Harmier, 41, of Vancouver, police said, and booked in Clark County jail on four counts of first-degree assault.