An altercation in the McNeil Island cafeteria turned fatal, DSHS says

A man committed to the state’s center for sexually violent predators died following an altercation in the facility’s cafeteria, the state Department of Social and Health Services said in a statement Friday.

Jerry Spicer, 63, suffered a head injury Wednesday when he fell during an altercation with another man committed to the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island, the DSHS release said.

Spicer died from his injuries the next day at Madigan Army Medical Center, DSHS said, and the Washington State Patrol arrested the 39-year-old suspect.

The suspect appeared in Pierce County Superior Court Friday, where Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck ordered him held for 72 hours while prosecutors make a charging decision.

The News Tribune does not generally name suspects before they have been charged with a crime.

Spicer was committed to the Special Commitment Center in 2005 from Grant County, DSHS said.

DSHS spokesman Chris Wright told The News Tribune that Spicer was transported from the island to the mainland by ferry.

The speedboat that can be used for medical emergencies on the island wasn’t an option, due to his head wound, Wright said. The ferry is a more stable ride, making it safer for someone in that condition, Wright explained.

Crews called for Spicer to be airlifted, but Wright said weather and other factors made the ferry the faster option.