A man being stabbed by a knife-wielding stranger at a West Side steakhouse while celebrating his wedding anniversary Thursday night was saved from greater injury when a waiter jumped on the assailant, Madison police said.

Rickey Resch, 48, of Madison, was arrested on a tentative charge of first-degree reckless endangerment while armed after being subdued by employees and customers at LongHorn Steakhouse, 418 S. Gammon Road, police said.

A 63-year-old man from Freeport, Illinois, was taken to a hospital with stab wounds to his shoulder. “Doctors said they were mostly superficial ... but a couple would need stitches,” said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

The victim and his wife were having dinner at the restaurant for their wedding anniversary. The 43-year-old waiter had noticed Resch and his strange behavior, police said.

“The waiter said he had a look in his eye and was twitching and mumbling to himself,” DeSpain said.

When Resch began stabbing the victim, the waiter jumped at Resch and knocked him to the floor, but Resch got up and came at the waiter, police said.

“The waiter grabbed a chair and created some distance while others began to intervene, with several people disarming the suspect and others going to the aid of the victim and his wife,” DeSpain said. As Resch was taken away, people in the restaurant burst into applause, and the waiter was thanked for his actions.

“The witnesses said he did a great job and didn’t know what would have happened without him interfering,” an officer said in his report.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.