UPDATE - The suspect in Friday night's stabbing is in custody. We are working on a story this morning; will post when if is available
WALLA WALLA — A city man is being sought after a woman was stabbed several times in the head at a local tavern Friday night.
Details on the attack are still being investigated, but police said that on Friday at 8:30 p.m. they responded to an assault on a woman in her 40s at the Border Tavern, 604 W. Elm St.
Police called the attack a “vicious assault” by a suspect who is well known to them.
According to police, the woman was in the parking lot of the tavern talking on her phone when Ryan L. Farr, 30, of Walla Walla walked up to her and attacked her with a knife.
“We didn’t get to interview the victim last night, so we don’t know what transpired. But we do have him identified,” Detective Miguel Sanchez said Saturday.
According to Walla Walla Fire Department officials, the victim was stabbed five times. Police reported she is in stable condition.
Though the victim’s name was made known to the Union-Bulletin from other sources, police asked that her name not be published until the suspect is caught for fear he might seek her out for another assault.
It was unclear how Farr left the area after the assault. One report had him jumping in the back of a pickup as it drove away, but police said they have yet to validate that report.
All day Saturday, police searched for Farr, looking in garages, businesses and outbuildings in the neighborhood surrounding the Border Tavern, which was formerly the Rochester Tavern and still bears the latter name on its signage.
“(Farr) is known to hang about in the area and he could have been in that area couch surfing,” Sanchez said, adding police also spent the day searching houses of people associated with Farr.
Sanchez said police also are investigating an early morning house fire at 605 Moore St., questioning if it was started by Farr.
According to fire officials, a neighbor saw a man leaving the Moore Street house around 6 a.m. just before reporting the fire.
Officials said the fire was deliberately started on the stove in the kitchen and then spread to the cabinets above before firefighters put it out.
Farr has an active warrant from the Department of Correction.
In August he was charged with escape from community custody.
Anyone with information about the location of Farr is asked to call emergency dispatch at 527-1960.