Arrest report sheds new light on Summit County machete attack
July 3, 2014
On Wednesday, June 18, a nurse at a hospital in Lakewood overheard an 18-year-old man being treated for deep cuts on his face and hand talking on the phone about how he was attacked by Tyrus Walter Vanmatre.
The nurse recognized the name.
Vanmatre, 20, was being treated for a puncture wound on the same floor. He had checked himself into the hospital the day before. He said he fell out of tree and landed on a stick.
Hospital staff alerted the local police.
He was soaking wet, had several deep cuts and told the deputy he was attacked by two people in the woods. He knew one of them, he said. “They must have planned on killing me.”
Soon the Summit County Sheriff's Office arrested Vanmatre, a former goalie for the Summit High School hockey team, in connection with an alleged assault on Swan Mountain and charged him with four felonies, including attempted murder.
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After sealing the case records for a week, a district judge unsealed Vanmatre's arrest warrant on Monday, June 30. The document provides more details of what happened in the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 17, when a deputy driving on Swan Mountain Road near Sapphire Point found the 18-year-old man stumbling and covered in blood.
According to the report, the man waved down the deputy and told him, "Please help me. They're trying to kill me."
He was soaking wet, had several deep cuts and told the deputy he was attacked by two people in the woods. He knew one of them, he said. "They must have planned on killing me."
According to the report, the 18-year-old, whose name was redacted pending an ongoing investigation, told investigators the following story.
He met Vanmatre when he arrived in Denver about three weeks before the alleged attack from Thermopolis, Wyoming, with $50,000 he made from the sale of a house.
He told detectives he was in Denver "partying" and "blowing money," and he bought marijuana from Vanmatre, a friend of his brother.
According to Vanmatre's profile on the website StarNow, he is an aspiring actor and model, and Vanmatre and the Wyoming man's brother were in the same class through a talent agency.
The victim said he left Denver to spend time in Texas with family and then returned on Sunday, June 15. He was staying with Vanmatre, and the two planned to move into an apartment together.
That Monday, the day before the alleged attack, the 18-year-old said his wallet was stolen after he placed it on his motorcycle. The victim later said he thought Vanmatre must have taken the wallet and the $3,000 inside.
According to the report, Vanmatre helped him look for the lost wallet, and then Vanmatre said, "It's fine. I just got a job tonight. Like we got a job, $90,000 in this guy's safety deposit box."
The victim said Vanmatre was referring to plans to rob a home and told detectives, "I knew for a fact he was (expletive) being stupid" because they were getting handguns for the burglary.
The 18-year-old agreed to go "along for the ride."
The two men and a 16-year-old suspect now in custody, whose name was redacted from the arrest report, drove to Summit County late that night. According to the victim's account, they drove to Summit County to go to a party and because the victim's wallet was stolen.
When the 18-year-old asked about the party, according to the report, Vanmatre said, "(Expletive) the party. We got business to take care of."
A woman sleeping in her car in the Sapphire Point parking lot said she saw people get out of a car later identified as Vanmatre's.
They took out gloves and masks, the 18-year-old told investigators, and Vanmatre and the second suspect got out of the car with knives and swords.
He asked them if he could have a weapon, to which he was told, "No bro. We'll carry it to the top, and then we'll give it to you."
He thought that was "kind of sketchy," so he told them he forgot something in the car. He went back and found two knives, which he pocketed.
Then the three started hiking up the north side of Swan Mountain, stopping to rest several times. The 18-year-old said they planned to meet a man named John to get a handgun for the robbery of a house at the top of the mountain. They were resting near the top when the victim said Vanmatre told the second suspect, "This seems like the perfect spot."
They both came at him, the victim said, with "swords and a belt and a combat knife."
The second suspect tried to tase him in the shoulder with a stun gun, the victim said, and then Vanmatre slashed him across the face with a "sword." That blow left a gash across the victim's face from above his left eye across his nose.
The second suspect then hit the victim with an unknown object on the side of the head, where the 18-year-old later received 16 staples.
The victim had trouble recalling the exact sequence of events, but he said he fell to the ground at some point and Vanmatre tried to strike him again.
The victim blocked that blow with his hand, and the blade slashed his hand between his thumb and index finger.
During the fight, which "happened really, really, really fast," he said, Vanmatre and the 16-year-old said they were going to kill him.
The 18-year-old grabbed a knife and started stabbing Vanmatre as hard as he could. He told detectives he wasn't sure if he was piercing Vanmatre's skin because of the motorcycle jacket Vanmatre was wearing. There was blood everywhere, he said, but it could've been his.
As Vanmatre and the victim struggled, the second suspect came to join the fight, and the victim thought he was about to be stabbed again in the face. He held his knife to Vanmatre's neck, the victim said, and told the 16-year-old, "I will (expletive) slit his throat right now."
The victim said his attackers backed off and he ran away. The other two chased him, he said, and he couldn't see because of the blood pouring down his face.
He said he had trouble staying upright as he ran down the mountain, at one point sitting down and accepting that he would die.
Eventually he walked down to the road and tried to drink out of a stream but fell into the water.
Pieces of his story were corroborated by blood investigators found on the road and on clothing and weapons found near a cabin in the woods which the victim described.
Vanmatre was charged with four felonies: attempted first-degree murder, a class 2 felony, conspiracy, a class 6 felony, first-degree assault, a class 3 felony, and menacing, a class 5 felony.
A motive for the alleged attack remains unclear.
"This came out of nowhere, man," the victim told detectives.
Vanmatre remains in police custody.
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