3 soldiers arrested in JBLM soldier's stabbing death

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

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LAKEWOOD, Wash. —

Three men who were booked into the Pierce County Jail early Monday were arrested in the case of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier who was stabbed to death. The suspects are also JBLM soldiers.

 The men were booked on investigation of murder charges shortly after 4 a.m. in the death of 20-year old Tevin Geike.

Geike was killed as he walked with two other soldiers along Pacific Highway Southwest in Lakewood early Saturday.

Lakewood police said on Sunday at 3:40p.m., detectives were contacted by a military sergeant who told them he had information on the Geike’s stabbing death. 

The sergeant said that another soldier had come forward with good information on who may have been responsible for the stabbing, police said.

The soldier had told his sergeant that another soldier in his unit, Jeremiah Hill, had asked for first aid for a knife wound on his right hand on Saturday afternoon. 

The soldier stated that Hill told him he cut his hand when he stabbed a guy to death over the weekend, Lakewood police said in a news release.

 The soldier didn’t believe him initially, but told his sergeant about what happened.  The sergeant confronted Hill about this information, but Hill said he cut it while chopping vegetables.  The soldier ended up taking Hill to Madigan Hospital for treatment, where Hill told hospital staff he cut his hand cutting parachute cord. 

Police said they obtained information on another person involved in the crime who was brought in for an interview.

According to police, the 21-year-old soldier was cooperative and admitted he was at the stabbing scene. 

Detectives said he told them he was in a vehicle with four of his friends driving on Pacific Highway when words are exchanged between Geike and his two friends, who were walking on the street, and his friends in the car. 

He said they stopped to talk to the victims, but nothing happened once they discovered they were all active duty soldiers. 

As the five men were walking back to their car, Hill appeared to bear hug the victim and pushed him to the ground, authorities said.

Lakewood police said the soldier told them that Hill was covered in blood when he got into the car and they discovered he had stabbed the victim and cut himself. 

They fled the scene and disposed of the knife. 

Another cooperative suspect, a 19-year-old man, was brought in as well and he corroborated the accounts given up to that point, police said.

Detectives said they then tried to interview Hill, but he did not make a statement and asked for a lawyer. 

The other three suspects were brought in for interviews and gave statements. 

Police said they located and seized the vehicle the men were in during the attack, and barracks rooms were searched and multiple items of evidence were found.

The three men who were arrested and booked for investigation of murder were 23-year-old Jeremiah Hill, 21-year-old Cedarium Johnson and 21-year-old Ajoni Runnion-Bareford.

According to Lakewood police, it appeared from interviewing everyone involved that race was not a motivating factor in the homicide. 

The main suspect, Hill, did not make a statement, so it’s not known what his motivation was for the attack, police said.

Detectives said all five suspects are all active duty JBLM soldiers assigned to a combat infantry unit. 

Geike was killed as he his friends were celebrating the end of his service.