A 19-year-old Pendleton man is in jail after a barroom stabbing in Irrigon late Thursday. Seth Edward Lee Finch faces attempted murder and other charges, Morrow County Undersheriff Sheriff Steve Myren reported, and the victim, Aaron VanFossen, 37, of Irrigon, required surgery.

Myren said a group of four to six people at about 11:45 p.m. walked into the Sub Zero Restaurant and Lounge, 100 Highway 730 W. The bartender recognized Finch as being underage and told the group to leave.

A “verbal altercation ensued,” according to Myren, and then Sub Zero patron VanFossen got into the mix on behalf of the bar. Members of the group jumped VanFossen, Myren said, and witnesses reported seeing Finch stab the older man. Finch and the rest of the group fled.

VanFossen suffered a single stab wound to his abdomen, but Myren said the man was able to talk to law enforcement about the fight before going into surgery early Friday. Myren said he did not have an update on VanFossen’s condition.

Myren said the bar had no surveillance cameras, so the sheriff’s office is relying on witness statements and other evidence.

The sheriff’s office notified other agencies to be on the lookout for Finch, and Umatilla Tribal Police picked him up at 73750 McKinly Lane, the residence of Shirlene Speedis. Officers booked Finch into the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton, at 3:50 a.m. Friday, on charges of attempted murder, first- and third-degree assault and riot, all felonies.

Myren said the sheriff’s office remains on the hunt for other members of the group and more arrests are likely.


Contact Phil Wright at pwright@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0833.

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