COEUR d'ALENE - A man who had been stabbed multiple times in the torso early Wednesday afternoon staggered into Jimmy's Down the Street Restaurant on east Sherman Avenue seeking help.
The man, in his 20s, was taken by ambulance to Kootenai Health with about five stab wounds. Lt. Rob Turner, of the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, said late Wednesday the victim had undergone surgery.
Coeur d'Alene police taped off a block-and-a-half wide crime scene on the north side of Sherman Avenue, which included both the restaurant and the Coeur d'Alene Budget Saver Motel.
Dozens of evidence markers followed a blood trail from the motel where police believe the incident started, to the restaurant, Turner said. No weapon was recovered by late Wednesday, he said.
Rebecka Dalton, property manager at the Budget Saver, said the Coeur d'Alene-area couple who were the registered guests in room No. 205 were about to get kicked out on Wednesday.
Leading up to the stabbing incident in their room, she said, there had been a steady traffic of visitors going in and out since they checked in on Saturday.
"I think (the stabbing) was a drug deal gone bad, truthfully," Dalton said. "Today was the worst day of traffic."
She said no damage was done to the room but blood was on the floor.
The victim told police he didn't know the man who stabbed him, but police haven't been able to confirm whether that is true, Turner said.
Police had not yet found any eyewitnesses, Turner said.
Police searched businesses along Sherman for surveillance video that might shed some more light on what happened.
Mike Surber, owner of Jimmy's Down the Street, said the stabbing victim stepped into the restaurant entryway, fell backward, then sat down. His bloody hands were immediately visible.
Surber's wife, Gretchen, was working at the time, about 1:40 p.m.
"My wife went over with one of the other people, and she had somebody go get some rags, and somebody else go get gloves, and someone else call 911," Surber said. "They put the rags on his chest and applied pressure."
Police showed up quickly after that, he said.
"She said he'd said he'd been stabbed," Surber said. "Then they just kind of talked to him and tried to keep him awake and coherent. She said he was kind of coherent."
Schools in the general area were contacted and told to keep children indoors as a precaution as police searched for the stabbing suspect.
A vague description of the suspect was released to the public saying he was white, or possibly Hispanic, around 5-feet-7-inches tall, 145 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored beanie cap, shorts, and a backpack. He was riding a small mountain bike.
Patrol cars could be seen cruising up and down streets for several blocks around the restaurant and motel after the stabbing occurred as authorities tried to spot the suspect.