Onlookers were shocked when comedian Dave Chappelle was tackled during a Los Angeles performance in May. The attacker, identified by authorities as Isaiah Lee, carried a replica handgun with a hidden blade inside. On Friday, a former roommate testified that Lee had used the knife before — to stab him in the abdomen.
Dijon Washington said at a hearing for the stabbing that Lee grew increasingly erratic in the months before the comic was tackled, according to Rolling Stone. He said Lee wrote strange notes in their transitional living facility, bragged about his marijuana use and insulted Washington’s dead brother.
“He was saying, ‘I’m smoking on your brother,’ bragging about how much money he’s making – whatever he was doing – how much weed he was smoking,” Washington testified.
“It didn’t make sense to me,” the roommate added. “He knew my brother had passed away few months before that. It was disrespectful.”
Things came to a head on Dec. 2 when Washington laughed at Lee’s odd notes. Lee asked, “What the fuck are you looking at?” and rushed Washington, according to the roommate.
“We started tussling, and I got stabbed” Washington testified, adding that his roommate evaded police by fleeing their home.
Later, seeing the news about a man attacking Chappelle “made me realize who it was,” Washington said.
Los Angeles police revealed photos of the knife found on Lee after the comic was tackled, showing that it was about 3 inches long. Washington said the diameter of that blade matched his abdominal scar.
In the case related to Chappelle, Lee pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of battery, possessing a deadly weapon with intent to assault, and interfering with a public event. He wasn’t charged with a felony, as he allegedly reached for the knife only after running off away from the comedian.
At Friday’s hearing, however, Judge Kevin Stennis said there was sufficient evidence to try Lee for the attempted murder of Washington. With bail set at $1 million, Lee awaits his arraignment on Sept. 30.