A 59-year-old man was charged with assault in connection with the stabbing of another man Tuesday morning at Peggy's Restaurant on Fifth Avenue, according to the Anchorage Police Department.
The victim, who was not identified, remains at a local hospital in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, said Jennifer Castro, Anchorage police spokeswoman.
After receiving a call at 6:55 a.m., police responded to the restaurant at 1675 E. Fifth Ave., where they found the victim, she said.
Police arrested Olin Anderson on a felony assault charge later Tuesday, she said.
Anderson had earlier been arrested Jan. 5 on two felony weapon assault charges and one misdemeanor assault charge, according to state court records.
Anderson had been coming to Peggy's since Sunday but never paid for his meals, said Nancy Burley, a waitress at the restaurant.
She said she gave him a free breakfast, but when he kept coming back, patrons bought him meals.
The man Anderson is charged with stabbing has been going to Peggy's for more than 20 years, said Crystal Burley, Nancy Burley's daughter and also a waitress there. She said the victim is known at the restaurant as "Tom."
Crystal Burley said she was the only waitress in Peggy's when the stabbing happened.
Anderson was one of the first customers in the restaurant and ordered steak and eggs, she said.
Burley said after Tom paid for his meal, he stopped by the coffee station to give her a Christmas gift -- a See's Candies Dark Chocolate Butter Treat.
Tom walked out of the first exit door on the north side of Peggy's, and Anderson followed behind him, she said. Tom brushed Anderson off when he asked him for money, she said.
Anderson pulled a knife out of its belt sheath on his right side and stabbed Tom, she said.
Tom blocked the door until police arrived 5 minutes later so Anderson couldn't leave, she said. He didn't know he'd been stabbed.
After police took Anderson away in cuffs, Burley told Tom that she noticed a rip in jacket, and when he took it off, she said, fatty tissue was hanging out of his stab wound.
Burley gave Tom a towel to cover the injury until an ambulance arrived a few minutes later, she said.
Burley said even though Tom often travels to American Legion conferences, he is a part of the fabric at Peggy's.
When Burley couldn't afford a two plane tickets to Spokane, Wash., to help move her daughter to Eastern Washington University in 2010, the man bought the tickets for about $400 each, she said.
"He's always wanting to help however he can," she said.
By BENJAMIN S. BRASCH