A Shiprock man was being held Monday at the La Plata County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder for stabbing another man in the neck with a kitchen knife.
The unprovoked attack occurred about 11:05 p.m. Friday in the 900 block of Main Avenue, said Brice Current, assistant chief with the Durango Police Department.
“The injury was really close to an artery, and he possibly could have died if it was within an inch or so (closer),” Current said.
The victim, Jose Luis Delucio Diaz, 34, was in “stable condition” Monday at Mercy Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Diaz told police he was sitting at a table in front of Dreams of Tibet when a man approached him and stabbed him in the neck.
Diaz stood up and walked toward the intersection at 10th Street and Main Avenue and received help from three other men. While receiving assistance, Diaz pointed toward the man who stabbed him, according to an arrest affidavit. The three men then helped police identify the suspect.
Bill Smith, 58, was being held Monday on $25,000 bail.
Smith told police he believed he was being followed and that a group of people were attempting to harm him, according to an arrest affidavit. He said two women began talking to him, and he believed they were trying to lure him into a trap. He said a group of eight to 10 people “tried to bunch up on me.”
Smith also told police he had been punched on the left side of the head during an interaction with Diaz but later said he was punched on the right side of the head. Police found no injuries to suggest he had been hit, Current said.
Smith’s version of events also appeared to contradict with surveillance video.
Police reviewed the footage, which showed a man resembling Diaz sitting in front of Dreams of Tibet and then a man lunging toward him, according to the affidavit.
Officers searched the 900 block of Main Avenue and found a kitchen knife in a trash can near El Rancho Tavern.
Diaz used his shirt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding until he could be taken to Mercy Hospital. At one point, he was placed in the intensive care unit.
Formal charges could be filed within two weeks.