The bizarre incident unfolded Jan. 2 at around 1:30 p.m. when the suspect and an acquaintance were hanging out in the International District, said Detective Mark Jamieson of the Seattle police.
The suspect asked to borrow his friend's cell phone, but then refused to return it when he was done. An argument ensued, and the suspect pulled out a machete and swung at the victim's head, police said.
The 48-year-old victim was struck once in the back of the head, causing a small laceration. He then ran from the area and called 911.
The victim was treated at the scene by medics and later taken to Harborview Medical Center for stitches. Police searched for the suspect but he was not located.
Robbery detectives were assigned to the case and later were able to identify the 35-year-old suspect. Detectives also learned that the suspect was in custody in the King County Jail on unrelated charges.
He was interviewed by detectives then re-booked into jail for investigation of robbery, Jamieson said.