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Grand Island stabbing victim upgraded to “fair condition,” name released

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 10:31 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A stabbing in Grand Island left one man hospitalized and one in police custody on Monday. The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. at Auto Central while witnesses said the group appeared to be shopping for a used car.

Michael Flynn is the owner of Auto Central and he spoke with Local4 News about what happened. He said his staff knew right away something was off when they came in.

“My salesman Carlos went out to help them and they were asking him really weird questions, not your typical we’re here to buy a car questions,” he said. “He thought they were really suspicious. They kept trying to get him to go out with them to show them cars, but he already had customers up front so he said they needed to stay back.”

When the salesman did not follow the group, witnesses said they started fighting among themselves.

“They got in a fight out in the street with themselves and started punching each other,” Flynn said. “Then the one kid pulled out a knife and stabbed who we thought were friends, but like I said they were very suspicious.”

Both the suspect and the victim left the scene.

The victim, Justin Rodenbaugh, did come back later when police arrived, but GIPD said he was not cooperating.

“The male victim refused any type of medical treatment,” Captain Dean Elliot said. “The male victim refused to identify himself. We were able to identify a suspect that fled the scene on foot. We were able apprehend that suspect one block east from this location.”

That suspect was identified as Thomas Franks, 24, of Grand Island. Franks was found hiding in a friend’s basement.

Thomas Franks, 24, of Grand Island, was arrested for felony 1st degree assault and use of a...
Thomas Franks, 24, of Grand Island, was arrested for felony 1st degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony.(KSNB)

Captain Elliot said the homeowner did cooperate and they were able to take Franks into custody.

“They were cooperative with us at this point at time and allowed us in and allowed us to search,” Capt. Elliot said. “Based on the name given, we knew he was a known associate at that house.”

Rodenbaugh was eventually transferred to CHI Health Saint Francis after Captain Elliot said his injuries were too severe for police to let him leave. A hospital representative said as of Tuesday morning he has been upgrade to “fair condition.”

Everyone working at the Auto Central was safe and uninjured. Flynn said the police were there within seconds and they were thankful for the response.

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