LAKEWOOD, Wash.-- There is a small memorial of flowers and pictures on the sidewalk where soldier Tevin Geike was stabbed and killed early Saturday morning.
"We're all just trying to show our appreciation and our love for him," friend Amy Barnes said.
Authorities have arrested three soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in connection to Geike’s death. Jeremiah Hill, Cedarium Johnson, and Ajoni Runnion-Bareford were identified as the soldiers involved in the incident according to a military official.
Geike and several friends were walking early Saturday morning when they were confronted by a group of men, according to investigators. Police said one of the men pulled a knife and stabbed Geike.
The three suspects were booked after police found the suspect vehicle and evidence in the soldiers' barracks. Two other soldiers were reportedly cooperating with police and were not facing charges. Lakewood Police found what investigators believe is the murder weapon in a wooded area in Tillicum Monday afternoon.
"If you're in the army you don't kill another one of your soldiers another one of your battle buddies," Geike’s friend Ramona Benningfield said.
A sergeant contacted Lakewood detectives Sunday with information about a suspect who had asked another soldier for first aid for a knife wound. According to the sergeant, the suspect reportedly told the soldier he had cut his hand while stabbing a man over the weekend.
However, when the sergeant confronted him, the suspect said he cut his hand while chopping vegetables. The suspect told a different story to hospital staff when he went to Madigan Hospital for treatment, claiming he injured his hand while cutting a parachute cord.
Officers also interviewed another soldier who admitted to being at the scene. The soldier said the stabbing took place early Saturday after he and four friends in a car had words with a group of men walking on Pacific Highway Southwest.
According to the soldier, the car stopped and the men got out but nothing happened once the parties realized everyone was active duty.
As they were walking back to the car, however, the soldier said it looked like the suspect gave the victim a "bear-hug" and pushed him to the ground. When the suspect returned to the car, the soldier said the victim was covered in blood and they discovered he had stabbed the victim.
A second soldier corroborated this account. The main suspect in the stabbing did not make a statement to police.
Geike, 20, was in a combat aviation unit. Specialist Brian Johnson, who was a friend of Geike's, compared the killing to an act of treason.
"You betrayed your country," Johnson said. "At some point you served your country and now you killed a man that was doing the same."
"Why would you stab your own brother in arms," asked Specialist Donald Tener. "You're supposed to have each other's back."
According to a statement released by a Joint Base Lewis-McChord spokesperson, the three men arrested in the murder were all members of the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division.
Officers said that based on their interviews, the crime did not appear to be racially motivated.
KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen and Adam Mertz contributed to this report.