Man says friend was stabbed in front of him

A friend of stabbing victim Peter John said John's last day was idyllic, as they spent time together listening to music, writing a song and enjoying the birds playing in the birdbath in the front yard of John's home on Tuesday.

"He just promoted the things that are most important in life: peace, love, beauty," said friend John Garcia, who goes by the name Chinook.

But that peace was shattered, said Chinook. "Out of the clear blue sky, it turns into hell."

Chinook said John had allowed Stephen Kovacs, an unemployed neighbor, to stay with him while Kovacs was going through tough times.

Chinook said John had asked Kovacs to leave the house and get his life together, going to detox and working on his alcohol issues.

"I went out to Steve and I says, 'Go get your sleeping bag,'" said Chinook. "I told him again, encouraged him, how I would help him, told him what we would do."

Chinook said Kovacs did not get his sleeping bag, but seemed at peace.

"And I thought, 'Things are working,'" said Chinook.

Chinook said Kovacs approached John, who was lying on the living room couch.

"Peter stuck his hand out and Steve stuck his hand out and I thought, 'They're going to shake.' And then, with the other hand, Steve stabs Peter," said Chinook. "It was very quick."

Chinook said Kovacs then came at him with the knife.

"And I go, 'What the ---? Are you going to murder me, too?' And he nodded. And he brought his arm up," said Chinook.

"I was in front of the fire place and grabbed the screen and I threw it at him," he added.

Chinook said he ran out of the house to get help. He said police found Kovacs walking down the street holding a six-pack of alcohol, purchased after the stabbing, and drinking a beer.

"I'm grieving," said Chinook. "I'm sick, physically."

Chinook is struggling to understand how Kovacs could hurt the person who was helping him.

Chinook said Kovacs found a dead baby on the conveyor belt at his work at a recycling plant in North Portland last year and never recovered from the trauma. "That was a terrible torment in his mind," said Chinook.

Chinook said his friend was generous, caring and giving, and loved talking to people.

"Just always wanted to connect, wanted to know, 'What do you feel? What do you think?'" said Chinook of John. "There's a big gap in the neighborhood. For a lot of people."