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NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — A Navy chief petty officer remained hospitalized Friday after a drunken homeless man allegedly stabbed him in the back outside a pub in Seville.

Chief Petty Officer Thomas Cooper, 36, was drinking at P. Flaherty’s Irish bar Tuesday when a homeless man stabbed him with a jackknife, local police said in an article published in Friday’s Diario de Cadiz.

Authorities arrested Emilio Perez Fernandez, 58, with the help of the pub’s owner, according to a witness who did not want to be named.

Police said Fernandez was drunk.

There was “no provocation,” the witness told Stars and Stripes. “No reason for the attack.”

Cmdr. Bob Ross, spokesman for the U.S. 6th Fleet in Gaeta, Italy, also said that the crewmember did not provoke the attack.

Cooper was visiting Seville while on a port visit in Rota. He is a crewmember assigned to the USS Newport News, a nuclear-powered submarine that visited the Navy base this week.

Cooper remains in good condition at the Navy hospital in Rota, and the surgeon believes he is “well on his way to making a full recovery,” Lt. Steve Alboona said Friday.

He did not know when Cooper would be released.

Cooper was initially treated at a hospital in Seville before being transferred to the Navy base Thursday, Alboona said.

Seville, about 70 miles north of Rota, is a popular day trip for military personnel stationed in Rota and sailors who stop in Spain on port calls.

Although the city is famous for its stunning cathedral and thriving nightlife, guidebooks warn tourists about petty theft.


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