A man was stabbed and killed Tuesday following a dispute on the road in Chula Vista that ended with deadly violence at an intersection, police confirmed.
Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) Capt. Phil Collum said officers were called to Willow Street and Sweetwater Road just after 9 a.m. to investigate a stabbing that happened at the intersection near the bridge.
Collum said two men were involved in a "rolling altercation" that began a few blocks away from the intersection -- maybe even up to one mile away. One man was in a white Ford Ranger, the other in a silver minivan.
Witnesses reported seeing the men yelling at each other while driving along the bridge. Police said the driver of the truck, identified as Rickey Smith, 60, pulled up alongside the van and threw a soda at the driver of the van.
Smith then pulled in front of the van and slammed on his brakes, causing the driver of the van to rear-end him, according to police.
CVPD called the collision minor.
Following the fender-bender, Smith exited his vehicle, approached the driver of the van and, according to witnesses, punched him through a window. Smith then stabbed the van driver with a retractable blade knife. That knife was found in Smith's belt when officers arrived, according to CVPD.
When police got to the area, the stabbing victim was lying on the ground. Remnants of blood could be seen on the roadway.
The stabbing victim was rushed to a local hospital but ended up dying from his wounds a short time later, Collum said. Police identified the victim Wednesday as Horace Williams, 36, of National City.
Smith was initially detained at the scene of the crash for questioning but was later arrested on one count of first-degree murder, police said.
Collum said police were interviewing Smith, “trying to ascertain exactly what happened, and why this tragedy happened.” Collum said Smith was cooperative in the investigation.
It is unknown how many times Williams was stabbed. Smith was not injured in the altercation, Collum said.
Collum said the incident appears to be road rage after initially hesitating to confirm that was the case.
The police captain had at first referred to the incident as a "rolling altercation" because witnesses told police they saw the vehicles traveling near one another as the drivers were engaged in a dispute.
Collum said while cases of road rage do occur, the severity of this case takes it to a whole new level. He said the location on the border of Chula Vista and Bonita is "an unusual" place for this to happen.
Collum said the area around the intersection is highly-trafficked and he believes there could be several witnesses who saw a portion of the events leading up to the stabbing. Any of those details could help police piece together what happened. Collum said witnesses can call the CVPD's tip line at (619) 422-TIPS.
Late Tuesday, NBC 7 learned that Smith is involved at St. Stephen's Church of God in San Diego, where he plays the organ and his wife is a youth minister.
Friend and neighbor Andy Tait can't imagine Smith as a murder suspect.
"I don't know the circumstances," Tait said. "A guy's got a right to defend himself. I don't know what happened."
A church elder and administrator turned down interviews with NBC 7 and deferred questions to Bishop George McKinney who did not return the station's calls.
Smith is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.