LARNED — Larned police officers are investigating a stabbing incident that occurred early Saturday morning, resulting in a suspect in custody in the Pawnee County Jail.
Larned Police Chief Chuck Orth said Tuesday morning that charges of attempted first-degree murder and an alternative charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon were filed Monday with the Pawnee County Attorney against Mateo Francisco Alonzo, 25, of Larned.
Chief Orth said that details of the Aug. 6 incident were still being verified due to language barriers with the suspect during an in-custody interview and information supplied by witnesses involved.
According to Orth, the suspect, who was intoxicated, entered the residence at 1416 Santa Fe in north Larned shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday and attacked a 22-year-old male coworker with a knife while he was sleeping. The victim fought off his attacker and fled out of the house. The suspect then chased the victim on foot approximately five blocks to the attacker’s residence at 204 E. 11th Street, where the victim was transported by a member of the household to Pawnee Valley Community Hospital suffering from unspecified knife wounds.
“He had apparently been stabbed several times,” Orth said.
The victim, Jose Manuel Villacruz-Villaponda, 22, was then treated and released, Chief Orth said.
After an hour-long concentrated search, Larned PD officers apprehended the suspect at approximately 2:52 a.m. at the 11th Street residence. He was arrested without incident and brought to the PD for questioning. A knife believed to be the weapon used in the attack was also recovered, Orth said.
With one of the occupants of the 11th-Street address — also a coworker of the suspect — serving as interpreter, Chief Orth said that the in-custody interview indicated Alonzo was claiming self-defense in the incident.
“We are still in the process of collecting information and are in search of another interpreter,” Orth noted. An ICE detainer had also been issued relating to the suspect, who is believed to be from Guatemala, Orth said.
Alonzo received first appearance Wednesday afternoon in Pawnee County District Court. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 19. If convicted, Alonzo faces a presumptive prison term of of between 147 months and 618 months in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections. He is being held in the custody of the Pawnee County Sheriff in lieu of $100,000 bond.