Stabbing aboard Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry forces cancellation Wednesday

The last sailing was canceled on Wednesday night as law enforcement responded to the stabbing.

The last sailing of the Port Townsend/Coupeville ferry was canceled Wednesday night after a stabbing occurred aboard the MV Kennewick, according to information from the Washington State Patrol and state Department of Transportation.

Gabriel Thomas Dignum, 22, was arrested on suspicion of first degree assault for stabbing Christopher Haltom after the ferry left Coupeville, according to a probable cause statement by Trooper Alisha Gruszewski.

Dignum was later charged with assault in the second degree — deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon, according to court documents obtained by the Peninsula Daily News, a sister newspaper of the Whidbey News-Times.

Dignum was traveling with Katherine Abitia and the two got into an argument with Haltom at approximately 7:45 p.m. while the sailing was underway.

The verbal argument turned into a physical fight, resulting in Dignum stabbing Haltom in the back with a knife, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Ferry crew members separated the two parties and treated Haltom’s stab wound.

Dignum reportedly changed his clothes to try to slip away undetected, but he was eventually handcuffed after several crew and passengers identified him to Port Townsend police officers when the ferry came to dock.

Dignum tried to hide the original shirt he was wearing while sitting in the patrol car, and the rest of his original clothing was recovered from his backpack.

In his backpack police found the knife Dignum allegedly used in the stabbing, as well as a butterfly knife.

Officers also reported finding drugs in Abitia’s backpack, but Dignum later claimed they were his.

Dignum was booked into Jefferson County Jail that night, and Abitia was released. Bail for Dignum was set at $100,000, according to jail records.

Haltom was taken by ambulance to Jefferson Medical Center in Port Townsend and later released.

The ferry was placed on lockdown while authorities secured the boat and is currently being held in Port Townsend.

All of the passengers disembarked in Port Townsend.

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