LINCOLN — An argument that erupted between two painters at a University of Nebraska-Lincoln construction site Tuesday morning sent one man to the hospital with knife wounds. The other was arrested later Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree assault and using a weapon to commit a felony.

Jose Ordonez, 48, was arrested in Omaha and jailed in Lancaster Countyon Tuesday evening, an official with UNL Police said. He is to appear in Lancaster County Court at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

UNL Police were summoned to St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center at 8:39 a.m., after the injured man, Pedro Marcial-Alejandro, 35, sought treatment there, said Assistant Chief Charlotte Evans. The fight broke out shortly before 8 a.m., she said. Both men had left the job site before police were summoned.

Marcial-Alejandro received cuts that required stitches, though he was not hospitalized. The wounds were inflicted with a utility knife with an adjustable blade, a tool being used in the men's work, Evans said.

“We don't have construction workers coming to work with big knives or weapons,” Evans said. She also stressed that no students, staff or faculty were involved, not even as witnesses, and that the altercation occurred inside a construction job site that is closed to the public.

Marcial-Alejandro told police that he and his co-worker got into an argument at the site of a new $71 million residence hall complex being built near 17th and R Streets in Lincoln. (One of the two new buildings will open in August and the other will open in August 2014.)

Witnesses told police that Ordonez started the fight and advanced upon Marcial-Alejandro with the knife.

Ordonez also was injured and received stitches, Evans said. Police believe he was cut when Marcial-Alejandro grabbed the knife to defend himself.

Both men were employed by Vacanti Painting Corp., a subcontractor on the site.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9581, leslie.reed@owh.com

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