BY KEITH EPPS /áTHE FREE LANCE-STAR
The ongoing investigation into a brutal stabbing in southern Stafford County on Thursday night has revealed that a group of witnesses--particularly one man--probably saved a woman's life.
According to police, a 19-year-old Spotsylvania County woman was leaving her job at the Sports Performance Institute at 419 Chatham Heights Road about 7:18 p.m. when she was confronted by her former boyfriend.
The man identified by the Stafford Sheriff's Office as 21-year-old Noel Walker of Spotsylvania, grabbed the woman, threw the victim to the ground and stabbed her numerous times all over her body before witnesses were able to intervene, Sheriff's Maj. David Decatur said.
Decatur said several people were yelling at the suspect to stop, but the attack didn't stop until one man--identified only as an employee of the physical therapy center--kicked Walker off the victim.
That man then immediately began giving aid to the woman while two other witnesses chased the fleeing suspect.
Decatur said the woman was in critical but stable condition Saturday in a local hospital. She has already undergone at least one surgery and is expected to survive, he said.
Decatur said the Sheriff's Office will formally recognize those who assisted the victim at a later time.
"We are very grateful for everyone who came to that woman's aid," he said. "There's no doubt she wouldn't have made it without them."
Decatur said Walker was about 40 yards from the injured woman when Deputy Nick Zotos encountered him by the drive-through window at a nearby McDonald's restaurant.
Zotos also saw two people running behind him.
When Walker saw Zotos, he immediately stopped and began stabbing and slicing himself. Zotos used his stun gun on Walker to stop the self-inflicted attack, Decatur said.
Walker also suffered life-threatening injuries and was treated at Mary Washington Hospital. Decatur said he was improving on Saturday and was expected to be moved out of intensive care soon.
Once he is recovered enough, Walker will be placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail. He is charged with attempted murder and aggravated malicious wounding.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404