Two in custody following late-night stabbing at Woodinville service station
by Jeff Switzer
Todd Okerman had been working the counter at the gas station in the 14000 block in Woodinville for about six weeks, and following the management's policy, he locked the doors at 10 p.m.
When two males came up to the window at around 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday Dec. 6 wanting to buy some food, Okerman unlocked the doors.
According to police, the two "hungry" individuals then rushed the 21-year-old Okerman, stabbed him in the shoulder and the leg, and forced him to the ground, stomping on his head and roughing him up.
The two allegedly told Okerman, "We're taking all your money."
Okerman did not resist, police say, and told the assailants how to open the cash register from his position on the ground. When the robbers were unable to open the register, police say they became frustrated and stabbed the attendant's right leg again.
Okerman was forced to open the register. Once it was open, the assailants stabbed him in the back and fled.
"They sliced my neck and stomped on my head," Okerman said. "The cut in my back was pretty close to my spine and the doctors said I'm lucky I'm not paralyzed."
The two suspects allegedly made off with an undisclosed amount of money and cigarettes.
Okerman called 911. He was found behind the counter by police and was taken to the emergency room at Evergreen Hospital, where he was treated for two stab wounds in his thigh and knife wounds in his back and neck, then released.
Community police officers were able to respond quickly to the robbery call since they were already responding to a call of suspicious characters in the shopping plaza near the gas station.
Upon arrival at the shopping center, officers saw two males running north on 140th Avenue NE. One attempted to hide and the other continued running.
Police apprehended the first suspect and were questioning him on the suspicious activity call when the robbery call was reported.
They arrested the suspect, an 18-year-old Woodinville male, on suspicion of robbery. A K-9 unit was called in to investigate the area near the Park-and-Ride and the adjacent apartment complex, but found no trace of the other suspect.
He was later caught, and was booked Thursday, Dec. 7 at 6:15 a.m. Police identified him as a 20-year-old Redmond male.
According to King County Police Sgt. Rich Krogh, both suspects are expected to be charged with first degree robbery, and the Woodinville man is expected to be charged with first degree assault as well.
"This is an example of community policing at its best," Krogh said.
"It can be a toss of the coin how close our units were when the call came in. Because people called in the suspicious activity, it brought our people in sooner," he said.
"That type of involvement in the community makes an apprehension like this a real success story."
As of Dec. 8, investigators have positive leads on a third suspect in the case.