By JOSHUA WOLFSON
and AMY LINDBLOM
A Sonora man slashed his ex-girlfriend in the face before turning the knife on himself late yesterday afternoon at a Columbia bar, witnesses said.
Moments after Michael Pete Linan, 51, allegedly cut Camille Sanoncik at the St. Charles Saloon, he plunged the knife into his own abdomen, Tuolumne County Sheriff's deputies and witnesses said.
Linan was taken to Tuolumne General Hospital and underwent surgery last night, said sheriff's Sgt. Roger Dittberner. He was listed in serious condition this morning.
Even though Linan remains hospitalized, he has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and violating a court order to stay away from Sanoncik.
Sanoncik, 46, was treated and discharged from Sonora Community Hospital, a spokeswoman said this morning.
After Linan cut Sanoncik, witnesses pulled the two apart, Sheriff's Lt. John Steely said this morning. Although patrons tried to hold Linan down, he broke away and stabbed himself. No information on the knife was available this morning.
A witness said Linan had been at the bar about a half hour before Sanoncik arrived and provoked a confrontation.
However, the sheriff's department said this morning that Sanoncik arrived at the bar first and Linan came in and confronted her.
As paramedics attended to his injuries, Linan asked them to leave him alone and let him die, said Rita Luallen, a Columbia woman who was at the saloon minutes after the stabbing. Luallen, who said she has been friends with Linan for about five years, tried to comfort him.
"I told him I don't want you to go,' " she said. "He said he wanted to; it's time to. He said, my life is over, my life is over.' "
Linan is well liked in Columbia, Luallen said. He is known as "Indian Mike" and works at the City Hotel, just down the street from the saloon where the stabbing took place.
"He is like an icon here," she said. "He would give the shirt off his back to help anyone."