SOMERSET, Wis. -- Authorities in western Wisconsin have released more details in the fatal stabbing incident at a popular tubing area on the Apple River, including the conditions of the surviving victims.
According to the St. Croix Sheriff's Office, the dispatch office received reports of a stabbing on the Apple River upstream from Sunrise Bridge in Somerset at approximately 3:45 p.m. Saturday. When deputies arrived, they found five people with stab wounds to their mid-sections.
"Deputies, as well as citizens, began providing medical care to the victims," the sheriff's office said Sunday.
The suspect -- a 52-year-old man from Prior Lake, Minnesota -- fled the area, leading authorities on an hour-and-a-half-long search. He was located near the exit point for tubers on the river and arrested without incident. He did not have a knife on him when officers found him.
He is being held at the St. Croix County Jail. Criminal charges are expected to be filed against him Monday.
All five victims were taken to area hospitals, with two airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul and another two taken by ambulance to the same location. The fifth victim was taken to Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities said the deceased victim is a 17-year-old boy from Stillwater. A representative from Stillwater High School confirmed Sunday that the victim was a student there.
The four victims are all in stable conditions, with injuries ranging from serious to critical in their torso and chest areas. They are identified as:
- 20-year-old man from Luck, Wisconsin
- 22-year-old man from Luck, Wisconsin
- 22-year-old man from Elk River, Minnesota
- 24-year-old woman from Burnsville, Minnesota
As campers on the river headed home after a weekend they'll never forget, Kathy Fuller cleaned up the trash tubers left behind Saturday when they rushed out of the water in panic.
"Somerset, it was just pandemonium, it was crazy. I think people are pretty shook up about it. You don't see this kind of thing happening in our small, little town," Fuller said. "We're trying to make it more family-friendly, and we've been working really hard at that so this makes it kind of sad because we really have been doing a great job at that."
for a second day Sunday as law enforcement continued the investigation and searched the area for evidence.
In a Facebook post, River's Edge Tubing said in part, "Tens of thousands of visitors annually -- millions in total -- have enjoyed floating the river with family and friends … [Saturday] an act of violence shattered that serenity."
St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said Saturday that it's unclear if the stabbing was random, and investigators are attempting to determine a motive.
"It is a tragedy, and I feel really bad for the families," Knudson said.
Anyone with information, including video, are asked to call Investigator John Shilts at 715-381-4219 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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