ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Two men were fatally stabbed at a Salvation Army apartment building in Minnesota, and police arrested a suspect who tried to leave through a rear stairway. The stabbings were reported around 7:15 p.m. Saturday at Castleview Apartments in Rochester, a 32-unit building that provides shelter for the homeless, disabled, those in poverty or who have mental health issues.
Rochester police Capt. John Sherwin told the Post Bulletin newspaper the suspect was "definitely under the influence of alcohol" when he allegedly stabbed the two men on the fourth floor of the building. The 53-year-old man was arrested shortly after the stabbings as he tried to leave the building through a rear stairway and was being held Sunday on two tentative counts of second-degree murder.
Police said the men who were stabbed and the suspect all lived at the apartments.
"Our officers are there frequently," Sherwin told the Post Bulletin. "The building is staffed with a desk attendant as well as security.
Authorities still were trying to piece together the circumstances that led to the stabbings, but Sherwin said the suspect reportedly had "bickered" with the victims "quite a bit." The suspect was combative with arresting officers and would not tell investigators what happened after he was arrested, Sherwin said.
The victims were identified as 57-year-old Phillip William Hicks and 45-year-old Eric Alan Flemming. Both men were stabbed in the chest and upper abdomen, Sherwin said. Police said in a news release that officers found the two men "suffering from critical stab wounds." They were later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Rochester, a city of around 209,000 people, is about 90 miles southeast of Minneapolis.
Anne Bashaw-Meyer, Salvation Army's director of development and community engagement, told the Post Bulletin that she was "shocked" and "saddened" to hear about the stabbings but would not answer media questions while the police investigation continues.
"This was a terrible tragedy and it is being investigated," the Salvation Army said in a statement.