UPDATE: Man charged in East End dive shop stabbing

Young woman seriously injured, suspect arrested

10 am Monday: The suspect arrested in connection with Thursday’s attack at Ocean Frontiers dive shop has been charged with 10 separate offenses and is due to appear in court Monday morning.

The charges against Jaron Solomon, 28, include: attempted murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, defilement of a girl under 16, threats to kill, causing fear of provocation of violence and carrying an offensive weapon.

He was also charged with two common assaults and one assault causing actual bodily harm, police said.

Original story: A teenage employee at an East End dive resort was stabbed repeatedly Thursday evening inside the business by a suspect who police said had been released on court bail earlier this year in connection with a separate criminal offense.

The attack was reported at 6:20 p.m. at Ocean Frontiers and occurred near the administration desk for the Compass Point resort when a 28-year-old man entered the business and had words with a young woman working there. The dispute escalated and eventually led to the woman being stabbed about half a dozen times, according to witnesses.

One witness, Tim Johnson, a tourist on holiday from Pennsylvania, said the incident could have been much worse if one of the young woman’s co-workers had not intervened, first going out for help and then coming to the aid of her stricken colleague – and getting struck in the head with a broomstick in the process.

“She was a hero to intervene like that, a lot braver than me,” Mr. Johnson said. “She was young too, maybe around the same age [as the victim].”

The 18-year-old stabbing victim was taken to hospital Thursday evening with serious injuries, but Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers said Friday that she was expected to survive. Her co-worker suffered relatively minor injuries from the blow to the head, police said.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder the same evening as the attack at an address in Bodden Town after he fled the scene of the stabbing. He was known to the teenage victim, police said.

Victim: ‘I did not do it’

Mr. Johnson, a frequent visitor to the Cayman Islands, said he was sitting on a bench outside the Ocean Frontiers shop waiting for a nighttime dive to get under way when he heard “a commotion” inside the store. At first, Mr. Johnson said he didn’t think anything of it, but began to take notice when a distressed young woman exited the shop and went next door to the Eagle Ray restaurant to get help.

At that stage, the dispute began to escalate and Mr. Johnson said he heard a woman’s voice inside the shop “turn to fear, anxiety.”

“She kept saying ‘I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it,’ Mr. Johnson said. “The voice was very afraid. He was clearly accusing her of something and insisting she had committed some infraction against him.”

At this point, the female employee who went for help came back with several other staff members. Mr. Johnson said he followed her into the dive shop.

“I saw the stabbing victim lying against the wall on the floor in the fetal position, she was in a very defensive posture,” he said.

The assailant, Mr. Johnson said, had taken a broomstick into his hand which he used to strike the other woman as she attempted to render assistance to her colleague on the floor. He said he did not see where the knife had gone. “When he hit her over the head, I got the impression he wanted to kill her,” he said. “If he had a baseball bat, she would’ve had a cracked skull.”

Mr. Johnson said he exited the building shortly afterward and called 911. He saw the stabbing victim later, before the ambulance took her away. She had blood on her neck, he said.

He said he did not know how the suspect ended up leaving the scene, but was told later that the man got into a vehicle and sped away.

Court bail

The suspect, Solomon, is known to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service from a previous incident.

He was granted bail earlier this year during an appearance before the Summary Court on charges of assaulting and threatening to kill police.

Bail conditions, including wearing an electronic ankle monitor and a curfew, were set by the court.

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