Arlington teenager seeks help to find person who stabbed him

An Arlington, Virginia, teenager started his senior year in the intensive care unit after being stabbed while running on a popular local trail.

Max, 17, whose parents asked his last name not be used, was in the middle of a 2-mile run on the Custis Trail on Saturday night, when he was attacked as he crossed under the Washington Boulevard Bridge.

“He was just a guy on the trail at first, and he’s walking and I’m running,” Max said, “And then, he got closer to me and he changed sides and just ran up with his knife and stabbed me.”

At first, Max didn’t see the knife or realize what had happened.

“I didn’t feel anything,” Max said, but he knew the guy was out to hurt him. “He just had this really angry, kind of hateful look on his face.”

Max kept running toward Washington Boulevard while yelling for help. As he approached some nearby houses, he realized the extend of what happened to him.

“When I was running to the house, I looked down and I looked at my hand, and it was covered in blood,” Max said. “And then a homeowner came out and asked me what was wrong and I yelled, ‘I got stabbed.'”

The wound, while small in diameter, was nearly 5 inches deep.

“The knife went through my spleen completely and punctured my diaphragm,” he said.

Once at the hospital, doctors told him the quick use of clotting agents by first responders probably saved his spleen. However, he had to have a surgical procedure called a splenic embolization to try and keep his spleen from bleeding again.

While he may have missed joining his friends for the first day of their senior year on Monday, Max is at least happy that he was able to come home from the hospital.

He does not know why this man — who he did not recognize — targeted him.

“My theory kind of is that maybe he was some unfortunate person having some mental health issue. And that’s why that’s why he did this,” Max said.

While Max was able to give a description of the man — bald, in his 20s, wearing a striped shirt and shorts  — police have not been able to find a suspect.

Max is asking those who live or work near where it happened for help in finding the man. He is hoping people in the area will take a look through their camera feeds from Saturday night to see if they can spot the person who stabbed him.

“I would like to have justice, but I feel like there’s also a possibility of this happening again,” Max said.

He’s asking anyone in the area who may have video cameras or doorbells that could be facing the trail or the sidewalks nearby to take a few minutes to go through their footage on Saturday night around the time of his run to see if they can spot the suspect.

Arlington police looked for the suspect right after the report of the stabbing, using the help of a police helicopter, a news release said. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Max’s run tracking app let him pinpoint what time he was stabbed — 8:47 p.m.

He hopes something is done to increase the safety on the trails.

“Where I was, there’s very little light. There’s one light that’s probably 40 feet away, and then under a bridge,” Max said. “But as far as the trail, generally, it’s just so under lit, and a lot of the lights just plain don’t work.”

He also worries that many areas of the trails have long stretches where you have no escape if threatened.

“I feel like I was, I was extremely fortunate that I was in a spot where I was able to just run away into the neighborhood,” Max said. “If I had been on one of these long stretches, where you can’t really access a neighborhood at all, I don’t know what would have happened. And I frankly, I don’t even want to think about it.”

Below is the area where Max was running.

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Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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