A 52-year-old man accused of killing one teenager and injuring four others on a river in Somerset, Wisconsin, on Saturday, claimed he was acting in self-defense when he allegedly stabbed them.
Nicolae Miu of Prior Lake, Minnesota, told investigators that he feared for his life during the altercation, even as witnesses and video of the incident suggested he instigated the confrontation and hit a woman in the group first, according to a criminal complaint provided to BuzzFeed News.
Police were first alerted about a stabbing on Apple River at 3:47 p.m. They found five people with injuries at the scene, one of whom, the complaint said, had a slash wound that exposed their internal organs.
The victims were transported to hospitals, and a 17-year-old with a puncture wound on his left abdomen was later pronounced dead. The other four victims are in their early 20s, police said.
The 17-year-old victim was identified by family members as Isaac Schuman, a rising senior at Stillwater High School who was interested in golf and had recently started his own business doing boat and car detailing.
"Isaac entered every room with a big smile, infectiously positive aura, and lifted everyone around him up," his family told KARE 11. "He had an incredibly bright future ahead of him and we are all heartbroken and devastated beyond words that his future has been tragically and senselessly cut short."
Miu was taken into custody that same day, after police found him downriver with a group of friends and his wife.
He is charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide and four counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Miu told investigators that he first encountered the group when he went looking for his friend's missing phone, court documents said. The phone was in a floater — a pouch for tubers to keep their valuables in so it does not sink — and Miu put on scuba gear to look for it in the river.
He said he came across the first group that looked like they had found something. When he asked about a cellphone, the group began insulting him, took his snorkel and goggles off and threw them in the water, and called him a "child molester," he said. He told police that he was attacked by them and another group and that he feared for his life and acted in "self-defense."
He told investigators he then went back to his friends and saw what appeared to be people from the two groups he had an altercation with fighting each other.
Witnesses and victims, however, told police that Miu was bothering a group of people on their tubes, and they called out for help from other people on the river, who stood in between the two. A witness told police that Miu's behavior was "disgusting" and he was "looking really weird and sketchily," the complaint said. He allegedly hit a woman in the first group before a man punched him, causing him to fall into the river. He then allegedly stabbed multiple people using a folding knife with a 3-inch blade.
A video of the incident that police obtained shows Miu running up to a group and grabbing their tubes before they tell him "get away," court documents said. As he walks away, he has a confrontation with a woman as others accuse him of "looking for little girls" and converge on him. He is also seen in the video taking a knife out of his pocket and exposing the blade before the camera pans away and back, showing Miu falling into the water and being slapped. He then gets out of the water and begins stabbing people.
During questioning, an officer told Miu that one person had died and four were injured.
"[Miu] said, 'Oh no' and asked if the individuals sustained injuries because they were
fighting with each other, and I said I didn’t know," the officer wrote in the complaint. "[Miu] then put his head in his hands and said, 'Oh my god.' [Miu] said his whole life was 'down the tubes.' [Miu] said he was sorry for how this ended up."
Miu is being held in St. Croix County Jail on a $1,000,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 12.