Daniel Rowe was apparently enraged at the sight of a black man and a white woman kissing on the streets of Olympia, Wash., Tuesday night. But police say he hid his violent intent behind a stony face until he was close enough to strike.
The attack happened about 8:30 p.m. in the state’s capital city on Fourth Avenue, a classic downtown street busy with people going to a local movie theater or visiting bars and restaurants.
Rowe had recently been released from Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, about 300 miles away. Police say he may have been among the ranks of the state’s homeless, who flock to Olympia for help on their way to Portland or Seattle.
Rowe, 32, walked up to the couple and, without warning, yelled a racial slur and lunged with his knife, police say. The blade grazed the woman and went into the man’s hip, according to a news release from Olympia police.
“The suspect is unknown to the victims and the attack appears to have been unprovoked,” police said in the statement.
After the attack, Rowe ran off as stunned onlookers dialed 911. The 47-year-old male victim, not realizing how badly he was injured, chased Rowe and “tripped him up,” said Lt. Paul Lower, a police department spokesman. Rowe hit his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious.
No one involved had life-threatening injuries, but police said Rowe’s behavior grew stranger as officers tried to wrestle him into the back of a patrol car.
“He tells them, ‘Yeah, I stabbed them. I’m a white supremacist,'” Lower said. “He begins talking about Donald Trump rallies and attacking people at the Black Lives Matter protest.”
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