Police: New Year’s Eve argument ends in stabbing
Cape Coral recorded its first homicide of 2010 early Friday morning after a man was fatally stabbed during an argument at a New Year’s Eve party.
Joshua Jay Sands, 35, of 3227 S.W. Seventh Ave., became the city’s first homicide victim of the new year shortly after midnight, according to officials. Reginald Etienne, 31, of 1152 S.W. 47th Terrace, is charged with one count of homicide willful kill or murder that is not premeditated.
At 12:31 a.m., Cape police responded to a 911 call at 1140 S.E. 47th Terrace about a reported stabbing. Sands and Etienne had been arguing at a party at the home when Etienne left and went next door to his residence to get a knife, officials reported. Etienne returned to the party, where he and Sands continued to argue.
According to officials, the argument moved away from the home and over to the roadway, where some pushing and shoving occurred. Etienne then took the knife and stabbed Sands numerous times. Sands was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injures.
Krissi Alexander was celebrating New Year’s Eve at a nearby house when the stabbing occurred. Alexander said she and her boyfriend, Rich Newman, had been out front before she drove up to the store to buy cigarettes just after midnight. When she got back, the street was swarming with police and EMS.
She said Etienne, known as Reggie, was in handcuffs and they had him in the back of a police cruiser.
“Reggie just kept saying, ‘It was self-defense. It was self-defense,'” Alexander said.
Some neighbors declined to comment on the incident, while others reported that they were not home at the time of the stabbing. One neighbor said the home that was hosting the New Year’s Eve party is not particularly low-key.
“It’s not unusual for them to be very loud at that house,” the woman said. “A lot of cars coming and going.”
A youth who answered the door Friday evening at Etienne’s home identified himself as Etienne’s nephew. He said he resides in the home with his mother, Marie, Etienne and Etienne’s 4-year-old daughter.
The boy said he is surprised by what happened.
“He doesn’t act that way,” he said of his uncle.
Etienne was arrested and booked into the Lee County Jail. According to jail booking records, he was denied bond and remained in jail Friday evening.
Marge Sands, the stepmother of Sands, said Friday evening that the family is in the process of working out the funeral services. A Panama City resident herself, she said family members are still traveling to the Cape from other areas and states, including North Carolina.
“It was just such a shock,” she said. “It’s really kind of rough right now.”
According to Marge Sands, Sands leaves behind a girlfriend, a 16-year-old daughter, a toddler daughter and an infant son.
There were four reported homicides in Cape Coral in 2009, according to prepared statements from the Cape Coral Police Department. Six people were arrested and charged with homicide.