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An Eau Claire man was stabbed during an altercation, police say, after he first hit another man with a piece of iron.

Rocky W. Ralston, 36, was charged Wednesday in Eau Claire County Court with a felony count of substantial battery.

A $100 cash bail was set for Ralston, which prohibits him from having contact with the other man.

Ralston returns to court April 1.

According to the criminal complaint:

Eau Claire police responded to an apartment at 628 Wisconsin St. at 1:15 p.m. Dec. 22 on a report of an altercation that may have involved a stabbing.

Police arrived to find Ralston walking out of the apartment.

Ralston had a large amount of blood soaked in his shirt, and he told police he had been stabbed.

Police noted that Ralston had two large lacerations on his chest.

An ambulance took him to Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.

A man told police he brought groceries to the woman who lived in the apartment and three other people, including Ralston, were there.

The man said Ralston was twirling a piece of angle iron in a threatening manner. (Angle iron is often L-shaped and used to frame or make items such as shelves, bed frames or other structures.)

The man told Ralston that it looked like he was going to get hit by the angle iron.

The man said Ralston then hit him in the face with the angle iron. The pair fought over the angle iron and the man was hit in the back of the head by the object.

The man said he had a knife in his pocket and brandished it to protect himself as Ralston raised the angle iron to strike him a third time.

The man charged Ralston with the knife. The man said they fought over the knife and he believes Ralston got stabbed in the process.

The fight ended, and Ralston went back into the woman’s apartment.

The man walked back to his girlfriend’s house on Mappa Street and threw the knife into the Chippewa River while walking across the Madison Street bridge.

The man was treated at a local hospital for lacerations to his lip and the back of his head, which required staples.

Police interviewed Ralston on Dec. 27. Ralston said the man confronted two other people at the apartment about money they owed him for drugs.

Ralston said he told the man to leave. While he was pushing the man out of the house, Ralston said, the man pulled out a knife and started to stab him.

Ralston said the man then stopped and left.

Ralston admitted having an angle iron in his hands and using it as a walking stick.

Ralston denied swinging the angle iron at the man.

Ralston said he didn’t remember hitting the man in the head with the angle iron, but admitted it was possible.

Ralston is being prosecuted as a repeat offender. He was convicted of a felony count of possession of methamphetamine in June 2016 in Eau Claire County.

If convicted, Ralston could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison.

Contact: 715-833-9207, dan.holtz@ecpc.com