Charges are still pending after a local businessman was stabbed and critically wounded outside the VFW on Sunday afternoon.
The victim, Larry Michael Hale, 52, underwent surgery at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga the first of the week to repair damage caused by what is believed to be at least two stab wounds to his chest and midsection. He was airlifted for treatment shortly following the stabbing which happened in broad daylight outside the VFW on Sparta Highway at 5:15 p.m.
“When our officers arrived, they found Mr. Hale bleeding, sitting in a chair inside the V,” said Sheriff Jackie Matheny of the stabbing. “He said he’d been stabbed in the stomach and chest.”
A preliminary investigation has revealed the incident happened in the parking lot of the VFW and likely stemmed from issues between Hale and his alleged attacker. While releasing few details at this point, investigators believe some type of confrontation happened between Hale and the man who stabbed him in the parking lot.
Hale then stumbled back into the VFW, clutching his injuries while his attacker fled the scene. Matheny did not say if there were direct witnesses to the stabbing but believes there are people who can put the alleged stabber at the scene when the crime happened.
“We do have suspects and charges are pending,” Matheny said, noting lawmen think they know who committed the crime but are waiting to interview the victim before taking warrants against the stabber.
Hale is the owner of H&H Plumbing and is well known in the community.
VFW statement on knife assault
On Sunday, Aug. 9, about 5:15 p.m., a domestic dispute erupted into a knife attack on a guest of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5064 in McMinnville. The assault occurred outside the building when the attacker invited an unsuspecting and unarmed diner to meet him in the parking lot. After suffering at least two knife wounds, the victim ran to a side door for help, upon which the kitchen staff allowed him inside and telephoned 911 emergency services.
The knife-wielding perpetrator tried to enter the post home but an employee, cook Rhonda Cummings, barred his entry at the door. The seriously wounded victim was evacuated by medical helicopter to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga and the suspect was questioned by deputies of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
The attack culminated a long-running conflict over a personal issue and had no connection with the veterans organization, according to post Commander G. Douglas Dietz, a U.S. Marines gunnery sergeant who served in Vietnam and the Gulf War.
“The victim had arrived just minutes before to enjoy our Sunday evening dinner of chicken and dumplings and roast beef when he was called outside to the parking lot. He apparently didn’t suspect what was awaiting him there,” Dietz said.
“The VFW continues to invest in many improvements in food service and benefits to the community,” said Jeff Killian, a post home representative. “We want to present ourselves as a place where family and friends can gather as our guests to eat outstanding food and enjoy beverages of their choice. We must emphasize the very unfortunate events of Sunday evening had nothing to do with anything that was going on at the post home.”