“It’s just sad.” Good Samaritan stabbed to death at laundromat

Published: Sep. 3, 2023 at 6:36 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Around 1 a.m. Sunday, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a man who had been stabbed inside the Scrub Board Laundromat in Martinsville.

Deputies found 47-year-old William Clay Rumley lying on the floor with a fatal stab wound to the neck.

Deputies say early Sunday morning a woman was trying to get her laundry done at the Scrub Board Laundromat. She was at Section 2 when a man approached, repeatedly asking for her phone. That’s when, she says, Rumley stepped in trying to de-escalate the situation. Rumley was stabbed in the neck by the man who had been bothering her.

“It’s just sad, it’s a sad situation,” says Takita Johnson, a manager at the hair salon next door and a close friend of Rumley.

She says he was the type of person who would step in for a stranger.

“He is not going to let nobody disrespect no woman in front of him, you know, that type of thing. He was just a good dude, chill dude, so it’s definitely a shock that it happened to him,” says Johnson.

A description of the attacker was developed through security footage from the laundromat. After responding to a domestic situation, police found Kenneth Austin Tatum. Tatum was taken to Henry County Adult Detention Center where he is being charged with 1st-degree murder.

“And we should all keep our eyes open for each other and we should ask for help,” says James Wilson, a frequent visitor at Scrub Board Laundromat.

Wilson says something like this happening here, really is a shock.

“Time to wake up, time to be alert, sends me more into a caution mode. For when I’m watching more behind my back. And for what may ever happen to others. I could’ve been him; it could’ve been me,” added Wilson.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463).