SPOKANE, Wash. – A man continues to recover after investigators said he was stabbed multiple times by a neighbor. Police documents state the assault stemmed from anger that the victim was lighting off fireworks on the Fourth of July. Prosecutors confirm they have declined to pursue the case against the man who stabbed the victim.
“I regret lighting the fireworks,” victim Doug Carney said. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
Spokane Police arrested Carney’s neighbor, Luis Vega shortly after the assault. They went on to recommend he be charged with first-degree assault. Records state a witness told them, ‘the defendant (Vega) threw the first punch,’ and went on to stab the victim (Carney.)
Despite all that, the prosecutor’s office has declined to pursue the case further against Vega. They tell KHQ there is a component of self-defense, adding that while the case is over, for now, charges could be re-filed against Vega.
“They didn't think this is a case they would win so they would be dropping charges,” he said. “How do you come across the alley with knives claiming self-defense when I didn’t have a weapon?”
Carney said the whole ordeal has left his entire family in a constant state of fear.
“I don't feel real safe in my neighborhood anymore,” Carney said. “My daughter comes up every day and asks me why that man stab you?”
Carney said he knows why and wishes he never would have lit off the fireworks.
”Yeah, they are illegal, I'm sorry,” he said. “I really wish I wouldn't have but I did, it's something I can't take it back.’
Carney has a lot of regret from that Fourth of July night that all started with some yelling between neighbors. A feud that he said blew up about as fast as it started in an alley behind his North Spokane home.
Carney said it all happened so fast and if it weren’t for all the blood everywhere, he wouldn’t have realized how badly he was hurt.
"I was stabbed three times, twice in the side, once in the arm right here,” he said.
SPD even initially fearing the assault may turn into a homicide, describing his injuries in a press release as ‘life-threatening.’
“I told my buddy, 'tell my family I love them,’” he said. “I really thought I was dying. This was it. I was in surgery for three and a half hours.”
While Carney’s doctor's rushed to save a life, detectives rushed to investigate the bloody scene. Court documents state they interviewed a witness who told them the suspect, Vega, was heard saying something similar to, ‘he attacked my son…I’m right here. I did it.’
Docs go on to state that officers recovered the suspected knife used in the stabbing in Vega’s kitchen sink.
Carney said he knew he was in bad shape but all he could think about was his young daughter.
“Chloe was with me the whole time,” he said. “There could have been a slip, and she would have been stabbed in the head.”
Carney said he was initially appreciative for the quick arrest and was even bracing for charges himself for the fireworks.
“I was willing to pay the fine,” he said. “I knew there was a consequence for it.”
But now, his fear is this will wind up being a wash.
He said he fears It's sending the wrong message about vigilante justice.
"It’s not okay to stab your neighbor,” he said.
Prosecutors said the charges could be re-filed if additional evidence surfaces. If you have any information about the stabbing and have not yet spoken to the police, you are urged to call Crime Check AT (509) 456 - 2233 and reference report number, 2021-20111341.