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Sunday, March 3, 2024
March 3, 2024

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Starbucks stabbing suspect may have been motivated by religious extremism (with video)

Affidavit says he made statements about "his willingness to die for Islam"


A 55-year-old suspect in the stabbing of two people in a Starbucks coffee shop drive-thru at one of the busiest intersections in Clark County may have been motivated by religious extremism, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Scott C. Fandrich of Ridgefield appeared Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of two counts of first-degree assault.

Judge Barbara Johnson set bail at $500,000. Fandrich is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges March 22. Vancouver attorney Jack “John” Peterson was appointed to defend him.

Fandrich wore an orange jumpsuit and limped into the courtroom. In a low voice, he mumbled answers to questions from Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield.

Fandrich is accused of attacking Jerry Kush, who is either 70 or 71, just before 5 p.m. in the Starbucks drive-thru at 11502 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., in Cascade Park, after the two had a conversation about religion, according to court records.

The affidavit said:

Hamza A. Shariati, 21, told police that he had met Fandrich at about 2 p.m. Monday to discuss religion. During their conversation at one of the cafe’s tables, Kush approached and chatted with Fandrich about cars and religion.

When Kush got up and left, Fandrich followed him out of the building, Shariati said. Then, Shariati said, he heard sirens.

Shariati told police that Fandrich had made statements in the past about “his willingness to die for Islam.” He said he knows that Fandrich “has conflicts with people.”

Kush was stabbed at least five times in the neck, abdomen and the side of the chest and had to undergo emergency surgery Monday night at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

Bystanders tried to intervene and stop Fandrich, according to earlier reports by The Columbian. One of them, Jerry Nehnevaj, 49, was stabbed in the right lower leg when he attempted to grab Fandrich and pull him off of Kush, according to the affidavit.

Nehnevaj was transported to PeaceHealth, treated and released.

Court records give an account by multiple witnesses:

Nehnevaj told police that he came to Kush’s assistance after he heard a woman screaming, “‘Help, he’s got a knife.'”

Another bystander, Randall S. Douglas, 58, stomped on Fandrich’s arm, causing him to drop the knife. Meanwhile, a crowd had gathered around the scene. Fandrich then picked up the knife and started to walk toward a van. The crowd pursued him. One of the bystanders had obtained a shovel and “wield(ed)” it to persuade the suspect to stay put until police arrived.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.