The man accused of stabbing a fellow sailor near a naval hospital in Virginia was arrested on Friday. The Associated Press reports Petty Officer 3rd Class Wilbur Harwell got into an argument with another man outside the Navy Exchange at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Portsmouth Annex. According to the Navy, the facility was placed on lock down as soon as officials learned about the stabbing.
Immediately following the stabbing, personnel inside the Virginia hospital were told to shelter in place. But around 3 p.m., the Naval Medical Center began systematically evacuating the clinics. Security was escorting everyone to their vehicles, patients first, followed by staff. People were stuck on base for hours, waiting to be released.
The stabbing suspect was later apprehended later in Virginia Beach, which is about 20 miles from where the incident occurred. Virginia Beach police took Harrell into custody at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Friday afternoon, after a nine hour manhunt. He was arrested without incident. It is unclear as to when and how Howell got off the military base. Security forces went door to door at the locked-down facility in search of the suspect. The manhunt came a day after Naval Medical Center Portsmouth practiced an active-shooter drill as part of routine training.
The stabbing victim has been identified as Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin D. Powell. He was transported to the hospital with knife wounds to the chest and neck where he had surgery and was in critical condition. Today, Virginia’s WAVY reports Powell’s condition was upgraded from critical to good this morning. Powell’s father-in-law, Rodney Elston, told WAVY.com he was stabbed eight times, once in the throat. Doctors placed him in a coma for at least 12 hours and won’t know until Saturday if Powell’s voice box has been affected, according to Elston. He said Powell will likely be in the ICU for at least a week.
According to The Associated Press, Capt. Michael “Jake” Johansson, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads spoke with them about the incident on Friday.
“I’d like everybody to keep their thoughts and prayers with the Powell family through the next few days,” Johansson said. “Good thoughts are warranted for this weekend.”
The stabbing was reported at 8:30am on Friday. The two men allegedly had a verbal altercation prior to the stabbing. No information is available on the cause of the argument.
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