Stabbing suspect at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth captured

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Updated Saturday, Jun 7 at 1:40 PM

PORTSMOUTH -- The suspect who stabbed a sailor outside the navy exchange at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth was taken into custody Friday afternoon in Virginia Beach. 

26-year-old Wilbur Harwell was arrested without incident near the Holiday Inn at 26th Street and Pacific Avenue around 5:10 p.m., according to a Navy source. 

According to biographical information provided by the Navy, Harwell was assigned to the frigate Elrod until November, then to the hospital. He has been assigned to the TPU since Feb. 5.

The victim, identified as Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Powell, 25, sustained multiple stab wounds to his chest and neck. Authorities say he was taken to the naval hospital to undergo surgery and was considered to be in good condition on Saturday. 

Johansson said the victim's wife is at the hospital with her husband and is in as "good of spirits as possible in this situation."

The Naval Medical Center, which was on lockdown for much of the day, has since returned to normal operations. 

The lockdown was a huge inconvenience to countless staff members and visitors. Danielle McCoy and her family were at the facility to witness her sister’s naval graduation. Being stuck in a lockdown left a bad taste in her mouth. 

“We will never come back to this base or any other base for that matter again, McCoy said. "I don't even like Virginia anymore because of this.”  

McCoy is six months pregnant and she and her family drove several hours, much of it in traffic, from Flint Michigan. She said her and her family were “trapped” in a room for eight hours with little food and water. 

Joe Gomez told 13News Now he stood outside the gates and watched the situation unfold while his family was barricaded inside the hospital. 

"They shut the base down. They took them into a conference room and put them in a closet or something, then the room didn’t have a lock on the door so they had push tables and stuff in front of the door," Gomez said.

Two schools were also placed on lockdown as a precaution, according to Det. Misty Holley. Parkview Elementary School and Norcom High School were on partial lockdowns but were both dismissed on time.  

Alison Todd said she was just getting into her car when she say police converge on the campus.

"As I got into my car, about five police cars came around.  Before I could pull off, about 10 more came around and then before I could turn around, about 20 more came and I just knew something serious had happened," she said.

The motive for the stabbing is still unclear. An investigation is now underway. 

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