SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Working the late shift at A&P Liquors, Eric Cain stood on a Sacramento street corner early Thursday morning watching an argument-turned-fight he had no idea was about to make international headlines, CBS Sacramento station KOVR-TV reports.
Cain said the whole thing appeared to start over a woman, and Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, one of the three Americans who overpowered a gunman on a European train in August, was stabbed trying to defend her.
"We're sitting there going, 'I don't even think they're gonna fight; they don't want to fight,'" Cain said as he watched surveillance video of the altercation.
Cain said the whole group came from the direction of Badlands, a club down the street.
"Obviously they had left the club together," he said. "They knew each other or something; they had been hanging out before this happened."
It looked to Cain like a young woman was fighting with her boyfriend.
"She's hitting him with a plastic bag," he said.
He thought the fireworks were just about over as the group started separating.
"Kinda arguing, kinda hem-haw fighting, pushing and stuff. We didn't think they were gonna fight, and that's when I started walking back to the store," he said.
Cain said he then heard a punching sound and turned back around.
Cain said the man hit by the woman with the bag punched her in the face. Stone got in the middle of it.
"And the big dude, the white guy, stood up and kinda got in his face," he said.
In the ensuing brawl, Stone was outnumbered and stabbed several times, but the airman didn't cry out in pain or stumble as he jogged away.
"He didn't look hurt at the time. He was walking with his arms up, you know how you are after you get in a fight," he said. "I saw the back of his shirt. I saw a big red mark on the back of his shirt, and another random person walked by, and I just kinda went, 'I think the dude got stabbed.'"
Cain said he was even more surprised to see the woman get in a car and leave, not with Stone, but with the suspects.
"I thought she was with the white guy the whole time because he was sticking up for her, but then she ended up leaving with the Asian guys," he said.
Sacramento police are searching for the two suspects.
Cain said he's worked at the liquor store for 20 years and he's never seen anything like this happen.
Doctors were confident Stone would make a full recovery, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports.
"I suspect given his history of his recent events, he's quite a fighter," said Dr. J. Douglas Kirk, chief medical officer at UC Davis Medical Center.
Doctors said it's too early to say when Stone may be released. They said that he was recovering well, but they would not elaborate on the extent of his wounds or how long that recovery may take.
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