TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City police arrested two men and a teenage male suspected in an assault at Northwestern Michigan College’s campus in which an Indiana man was stabbed with a knife and slashed with a machete.
Capt. Mike Ayling said detectives believe the suspects — ages 21, 18 and 15, all of Traverse City — attacked Dwight Johnathan Thompson on Jan. 31 in order to steal drugs.
Police this week arrested Thompson, 35, of Indianapolis, on drug possession charges after his release from Munson Medical Center. Court documents state a police officer found marijuana and 5.5 grams of cocaine in Thompson’s coat pocket.
“We believe it was a drug-related motivation,” Ayling said of the assault. “Our theory is they knew this guy had drugs on him and they were trying to steal his drugs.”
Thompson told officers that three men confronted him and forced him into a laundry room while he walked from an on-campus apartment building to his car. He suffered three wounds — one forehead laceration from a machete and two stab wounds from a knife — before he managed to escape.
Ayling said detectives had a good idea about the suspects’ identities after receiving an early tip from a witness who saw them enter a room at the Shadowland Motel. He said the witness saw blood on the suspects.
Thompson and the suspects didn’t appear to have any interaction that night before the attack, Ayling said. He said detectives interviewed the suspects on Friday shortly after Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney told police to go forward with arrests.
Authorities expect assault-related charges to be filed soon.