SEASIDE - Anthony Jay Johnson, 22, of Gearhart has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of a sleeping man.

Johnson allegedly attacked Bruce Eric Hutchison, 43, while Johnson's mother slept beside him Monday morning.

There is no clear motive, Seaside Police Chief Bob Gross said.

It happened at 385 18th Ave. in Seaside. Hutchison was living in the house while he helped to remodel it. Rochelle Irene Whitehead, 39, Hutchison's girlfriend and Johnson's mother, was spending the night with Hutchison, police said. She fled the scene and called police from a cell phone at 3:53 a.m.

Neighbors reacted with shock.

"The neighborhood will be a sadder place without him," said Chrissy Ehler, tearfully. "He was a nice man. He always petted my dogs." She said she and a friend prayed for Hutchison, whom she described as a quiet man and a hard worker.

Mark Leppell of Puyallup, Wash., is vacationing at a home in the 1700 block of North Franklin Street, a block away from the crime scene.

He said he watched about 15 police cars from various agencies arrive. Police entered the house in full protective gear, at one point using what looked like a stun grenade, he said.

"It's just really scary," said Kinsey Olson, 11, who is staying at the same house.

Gross said officers used a flash-bang distraction device, which combines a loud noise and bright light, while entering one of the rooms. Searching the house was high risk, he said, but the responding agencies were able to put together an experienced team to conduct the search.

Officers found Hutchison's body in the main bedroom.

Gearhart police went to Whitehead's home in the 3200 block of U.S. Highway 101 N. in Gearhart. It is Johnson's last known address. They learned he had been there after the stabbing, but had left. Johnson was seen at about 7 a.m. near 12th Avenue in Seaside and taken into custody without incident.

Forensic specialists from the Oregon State Police Crime Lab processed the crime scene, and detectives from the Clatsop County Major Crime Team are continuing to interview witnesses, gather information and execute search warrants. Hutchison and Whitehead's homes have been searched for evidence, as has the personal property Johnson had with him when he was arrested.

An autopsy is being conducted today in Portland.

Johnson is expected to be arraigned in Clatsop County Circuit Court in Astoria this afternoon. The matter will be submitted to the Clatsop County Grand Jury.

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