Stabbing may have involved race | SteamboatToday.com

Stabbing may have involved race

Victim considers leaving Steamboat Springs after incident

Brandon Gee

— An alleged stabbing at a Steamboat Springs bar on Friday is the subject of an ongoing investigation, and police say the crime may have been racially motivated.

The incident occurred Friday night at Sunpie’s Bistro on Yampa Street. The victim, Alfred Turner, said he was talking and flirting with two women when a man confronted him and told him to “leave our white women alone.” Turner, who is black, said the man who confronted him referred to himself as a Nazi.

Turner said he and the other man, who is white, then got into a physical altercation. Turner said the man hit him repeatedly with a beer bottle and stabbed him several times in the thigh. Turner said he doesn’t know whether he was stabbed with a knife, a broken beer bottle or some other object.

The incident occurred at about 10 p.m. Turner said he was sober and had just ordered his first drink. He said he was at the bar for only about 15 minutes when the incident occurred.

Turner said a Sunpie’s bouncer called a taxi to take him to the hospital, where he received about 20 stitches and was released. Turner, a truck driver, said he has not returned to work since the incident because of numbness in the leg that was stabbed.

Police communications records show that Sunpie’s owner Michael Miller reported the assault at 11:08 p.m. Friday. Miller declined to comment about the incident while police are conducting their investigation.

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Steamboat Springs police Det. Jerry Stabile said no arrests have been made, but that police are continuing to interview witnesses. Stabile said police have identified a suspect who is a white male who lives and works in Steamboat.

He described the incident as an altercation and an assault and said Turner was not the primary aggressor. While race appears to be an element in the case, Stabile stopped short of calling it a hate crime.

“I think it’s too early to tell the motivation,” Stabile said.

If the assault is deemed a hate crime, Stabile said it would allow for the pressing of additional charges such as ethnic intimidation. An incident report of the assault was not available Monday.

Turner said he has lived in Steamboat for more than a month. Turner, who previously worked in a Grand Junction oil field, said he chose to move to Steamboat because the community reminded him of his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Turner said he had not previously experienced any discrimination in Steamboat, but Friday’s incident has made him consider leaving.