KENMORE, Wash. — Investigators are calling a homeless man a hero after they said he stopped a knife attack in a failed robbery attempt that left a beloved Kenmore convenience store owner hospitalized with stab wounds.
Deputies say the suspect, a 15-year-old boy, tried to rob the Town Market store on NE 181st Street at 3:15 p.m. Monday with a knife, and a bloody struggle with the owner followed that left both with stab wounds in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
“I went in there, seen all the blood everywhere, all the stuff thrown everywhere,” said Steven Degroot, who currently lives in a tent near the store. “The store owner was fighting with the guy and I got behind the store counter and pinned the guy down.”
KIRO 7 cameras captured investigators examining a bloody knife on the convenience store counter.
“The owner had blood –— you couldn’t’ see any color to his face — it was all blood, and he was just screaming help me, help me repeatedly; screaming that and it’s like blood-curdling screams,” said Degroot. “It keeps replaying in my head. It’s pretty bad.”
Degroot said the suspect was also screaming out for help in the struggle.
“He was actually screaming help me, help me, like he was the innocent one,” said Degroot. “He was trying to get the tables turned like he was the one who needed help and I just held him to the ground.”
The victim’s brother-in-law told KIRO 7 he was stunned when he learned of the attack from his sister.
"Kind of hard to walk, I dropped my phone,” said Brian Cho, the victim’s brother-in-law. "He's got bad injuries."
Neighbors shared Cho’s shock and said the beloved store owner has been a part of the community for years.
“He’s just a great member of the community,” said neighbor Tami Brandt. "I can't believe this crime happened and how brazen they were, given the police station is 200 feet away.”
Investigators, who don’t believe there are any outstanding suspects in the failed robbery, said the store does have a security camera and that detectives would check for video of the stabbing.
“I really hope he’s OK,” said Degroot. “I told his wife and daughter best wishes.”
Watch Michael Spears’ original report and see video from Chopper 7 below:
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