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UPDATE - Norwalk hunter recovers from stab wounds

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:02 PM

Stabbing victim Chad Rothgeb said this morning he isn't "in too much pain."

"They're telling me I might be released today," the 22-year-old Norwalk man said by telephone from St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

A medical helicopter flew Rothgeb to Toledo after he was stabbed twice in the back during an altercation with a drifter Friday morning in a Berlin Township field near Ohio 61. The private property belongs to the relatives of a second victim, Mitchell Bellamy, 28, of Berlin Heights.

Rothgeb's injuries didn't require any surgery, but he said the two stab wounds resulted in two punctured lungs.

"They inserted a tube in my chest and I had to have a blood transfusion," he explained.

North Central EMS initially transported Rothgeb to Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky before he was flown to Toledo. Bellamy went to Lorain Community Health Partners Hospital in Elyria and was released Friday from the emergency room.

The suspect, Tyrone P. Cash, 22, of Lorain, currently is in custody at the Erie County Jail. On Monday, Erie County Court Judge Paul Lux prohibited Cash from contacting the victims if he posts a $500,000 bond.

Cash has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday, but he could waive it and face being indicted. He is charged with two counts each of attempted murder, felonious assault, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence. He also faces one charge each of theft and attempted theft.

Rothgeb and Bellamy were hunting in a deer blind, a small structure used to hide hunters, before being attacked. Rothgeb said they couldn't see to either side, but heard a noise to the right, in front of where they were.

"We thought it was deer first," he said.

The two hunters saw Cash walking and told him he must leave the private property.

"We weren't rude. We told him if you don't have permission (to be here), you have to go," Rothgeb added.

Cash "flipped out," he continued, cursed at the two hunters and started swinging his fists.

"I didn't know if he had a knife at that point," Rothgeb said. "It looked like he was punching (Bellamy)."

Rothgeb recalled dropping the single-shot gun he had with him and Cash wrapped his arms around him.

"He felt like he was punching me in the back," the victim said.

When Cash then turned around and attacked Bellamy, Rothgeb said he noticed the suspect had a fold-out knife with a blade 4 to 5 inches long. "I realized I just got stabbed," he continued.

Cash reportedly tried to pick up Rothgeb's rifle during the struggle with Bellamy. Rothgeb said he picked up the firearm to get it away from Cash and fired a single shot into the ground.

The attacker somehow managed to get the gun, pointed it at the two men and cocked it, Rothgeb said.

"It didn't fire because it was a single shot and it had already been fired," he added.

Cash then threw the weapon into the woods and ran away. Authorities later found the shotgun near Old Woman Creek, north of the incident, partially submerged in the water.

The defendant was arrested about 400 yards west of the altercation site. Frank Lopez, the manager of the nearby Old Woman Creek State Nature Reserve, has said authorities had Cash in custody "fairly quickly," near the railroad tracks bisecting Berlin Road.

Rothgeb said he and Bellamy decided not to pursue their attacker and went to the nearby Elm Street home of Bellamy's relative, who called 9-1-1.

"I realized I was hurt really bad," Rothgeb said. "We just wanted to get help at that point. ... We never met this man in our life."

Erie County Sheriff's Capt. Paul Sigsworth said Cash was walking to Toledo before the altercation "to speak to a friend there."

Investigators interviewed Cash's family "to give some insight into this incident," Sigsworth said, "but we didn't learn a whole lot new."

On Monday, detectives re-interviewed Bellamy, but Sigsworth declined to say what they learned. Detectives expect to talk to Rothgeb once he gets out of the hospital.

"There's still quite a lot to be done," Sigsworth said about the ongoing investigation.

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