A 17-year-old Minnesota boy is dead and four people seriously injured after a mass stabbing incident on Wisconsin’s Apple River involving tubers.
“Everyone was smart,” including the victims and suspects. They “went down the Apple River at the same time,” St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said at a news conference on July 30, 2022.
A 52-year-old Minnesota man is in custody, the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department wrote in a news release, and the sheriff confirmed the same. The suspect’s name and motive have not yet been released.
Here’s what you need to know:
The suspect was in a group of six to eight people, and the victims were in another group. The sheriff said authorities wanted to question about 15 to 20 people. Authorities are not sure what triggered the incident.
“We located five people who suffered from stab wounds,” Knudson said. Four people were transported to a hospital. A person has died. The four surviving victims are three men and one woman. The sheriff had no hometowns.
The tubing area is located in Somerset, Wisconsin. Knudson called it “messy, scary. I am sure that anyone who witnessed this will never forget it. It is a tragedy and I am truly sorry for the families.”
According to Travel Wisconsin, “The Apple River is a 77.5-mile tributary of the St. Croix River. Outfitters in and around Somerset offer hire and transport for this popular tubing river. The first half of the trip features relaxed family swimming. The last half offers a wild rapids area for the more adventurous and a walkway along the side for the less adventurous.”
The suspect left the scene after the stabbing, the sheriff said. It took time for authorities to get “upstream,” the sheriff said, adding that the stabbings took place near the Sunrise Bridge at “old Sunrise Park.”
Deputies arrived and, with the help of other people and “nodules”, began conducting life-saving operations and evacuating people. People suffered a “series of knife wounds,” he said.
The surviving victims are all in their early 20s. A perimeter has been set up and mutual assistance called for, the sheriff said. Authorities identified the suspect with the help of witnesses and he was arrested without incident.
The victims suffered upper body and body injuries. Authorities are searching the area for the knife. The sheriff said someone took a picture of the suspect. Knudson said it may have been 15 years since a stabbing took place in the area. “I don’t know what to think of that,” he said.
“I had better not speculate about what the turning point was today,” Knudson said.
The suspect was not previously known to the authorities. One victim was “injured on foot,” but all victims have serious injuries, the sheriff said.
In a written statement, the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department said:
People expressed their shock via the sheriff’s department comment thread.
“It’s so rare for our area here. There has to be more to this story. Going on the apple doesn’t have to be and usually isn’t dangerous. Good job everyone for ending the madness but let’s not let this become an ongoing trend in our absolutely beautiful village,” one woman wrote.
Another woman wrote: “My son was there, luckily he replied straight away. He was already gone when the incident took place. Until I heard his voice I was in a nightmare. My heart breaks for the family of the deceased.”
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