An alcohol-fueled argument between longtime friends in San Diego turned violent Wednesday when a man allegedly attacked another with a pickaxe, deputies confirmed.
According to Sgt. Alex Navarro, of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO), a deputy responded to a report of an assault just before 4:45 a.m. at a home in the 300 block of Paloma Lane in unincorporated El Cajon.
Officials said suspect Arthur Williams had been visiting his longtime friend. Drinking was involved and, at one point, the men got into a heated argument. Things turned physical when Williams allegedly grabbed a pickaxe and attacked his friend, striking the victim several times with the tool.
Williams then fled the scene.
NBC 7 spoke to the victim, Shawn Wilson, who is a former U.S. Marine. Wilson said he served in the U.S. Marine Corps alongside Williams and they've known each other for 30 years.
The two were saying a prayer together Wednesday at Wilson's home when Williams turned on him. The attack was an utter surprise for Wilson.
"I'm not going to harm him. He's like a brother. I said 'Art..why are you trying to kill me, man?'" Wilson recalled.
Wilson said Williams is a nice person. However, when he attacked, Wilson could not recognize the man on the other end of that pickaxe.
"I pray for him, you know," he added. "I hope he gets better. Our whole family loves him, he's like their uncle."
Medics treated Wilson on the spot; he was not taken to a hospital and is expected to recover. On Wednesday night, he showed NBC 7 his wounds on his arm suffered in the bizarre attack.
A friend of the suspect, Mike George, told NBC 7 he's worried for Williams' health. He said the former Marine may be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"I think it's PTSD myself, but I don't think it's intentional to hurt or kill or anything like that," said George.
Shortly after Williams fled Wilson's home, deputies in Lakeside found Williams a short distance away from the crime scene. He was arrested and booked into San Diego Central Jail on one count of assault with a deadly weapon, Navarro said.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this case can reach out to Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.