A tranquil float down a Wisconsin river turned tragic when a man killed a teen and stabbed four others Saturday, according to police.
The attack came as several groups were tubing down the Apple River. Police said a 52-year-old Minnesota man stabbed a 17-year-old boy to death and critically wounded four others.
“At this time we’re not sure what started this incident,” St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said at a news conference Saturday. “It’s all believed that everybody was tubing.”
The suspect fled but was identified by witnesses and taken into custody by police about an hour and a half after the incident. Members of the group gave police a photo of the suspect that had been taken at the scene, airing in his capture. Authorities did not immediately release the names of either the suspect or the victim.
The dead teen was also from Minnesota, and the surviving victims were described as one woman and three men, all in their 20s. When he was taken into custody, the suspect did not have a knife on him, and police were looking for the murder weapon.
Knudson said the suspect and victims were tubing down the river in two separate groups when the incident happened. He described the scene as “scary” and “chaotic.”
“I’m sure that anybody that witnessed this will never forget it,” he said. “So it is a tragedy.”
It was unclear whether the man and the boy knew each other. The alleged killer belonged to a group of six to eight people, Knudson said.
“He was taken into custody without incident,” Knudson said. “We don’t know yet who was connected to who, who knew each other or what precipitated it.”
Knudson said investigators were trying to interview as many as 20 people and suggested formal charges could be filed as early as Monday.
The suspect was being held in the St. Croix County Jail.
The stretch of the Apple River where the attack took place is a popular camping and tubing area near Somerset, Wisconsin, a town about 35 miles outside Minneapolis.