AUSTIN (KXAN) — One student is dead and three more were injured in a stabbing on the University of Texas at Austin campus Monday afternoon.
Austin police say they were called to the scene to assist UT police just before 1:50 p.m. at 2101 Speedway, which is near Gregory Gym. UTPD Chief of Police David Carter says an officer arrived at the location in less than two minutes. When the officer arrived, he saw a suspect walking away from one of the stabbing victims.
The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Kendrex J. White, was armed with a “Bowie-style” hunting knife, police say. When the officer ordered the suspect to the ground, he complied and was placed into custody inside the Jester West building. Social media posts show the suspect had a large knife holder attached to his waist.
Emergency crews found three additional stabbing victims within one block. All the victims were male and attend UT. Two of victims were released from the hospital Monday evening.
The Graham Independent School District in north Texas says the victim who died was 19-year-old Harrison Brown. In a Facebook post, the district said Brown graduated in 2016 and that he was “an inspiration to everyone around him.”
The UT directory shows White is a junior majoring in Biology. On Monday night, law enforcement agencies were seen at the Sabina Apartments just north of campus. Several of the people who live there tell KXAN White lived there but police would not confirm.
White’s classmate, Korbin Springer, tells KXAN that White had recently been absent from class and when he returned, he seemed depressed.
“This is not something I think he would’ve done a month ago,” says Springer. “He was a completely different person showing up in class and then now doing something like this.”
“This is obviously something that rattles any community, but certainly a college campus community like ours,” says Chief Carter during a news conference Monday afternoon. Carter says his department will move to 12-hour shifts to “reassure our community that UTPD is for them.” The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Austin Police Department will also assist with any extra patrols around campus.
A UT student and KXAN intern, Nidia Cavazos, says she was sitting at a food truck outside the Gregory Gym when she saw the attack happen. “He kicked a sorority girl to the point where she almost fell. A little bit later, that same guy ended up pulling out the knife. Everybody started yelling and running in our direction.”
Students say the first alert they received about the incident from UT was 2:15 p.m., which was nearly 30 minutes after the stabbing was reported to 911. Another follow-up alert was sent around 2:38 p.m. Chief Carter says their system would have sent an alert much sooner had the suspect still been on the loose when they got to the scene but in this case, the suspect was taken into custody within minutes.
As rumors swirled that there were other attacks in and around campus, UTPD said they do not know of any additional or ongoing threats. “That fear is very understandable, especially in light of recent vandalism and threats against students,” said UT President Greg Fenves in a statement Monday evening. However, APD did confirm that there was an unrelated stabbing that happened a few blocks away around 3 p.m.
At 3:14 p.m., UT canceled the rest of classes and events for the remainder of Monday afternoon and evening. The university says the cancellations are “due to the violent attack on campus.”
Helping the Injured
While many students ran away from the chaos, one UT freshman stayed behind to help his fellow Longhorns.
“And then I heard somebody gasping at the end of the table and then I saw somebody with a bunch of blood over their shirt, so I just thought maybe a rock or something fell and hit him so I ran over and I put the put my hands on his wound,” says Krishant Dania. At that moment, he had no idea what was unfolding.
“I was holding [the bleeding wound] and then I see a guy wearing a bandanna with a big, big knife, like a machete or something, and I see him going in the food truck line,” Dania recalls. “The guy puts his hand back and he starts screaming and I look at everyone, and everyone’s looking at me and I’m just like run! I’m like, run he has a knife!”
Dania thought he was next.
“There’s a point where it was me and the guy who’s wounded… and the guy with a knife, and he looked at me and I was like oh s***! I thought I was going to die.”
He says he locked eyes with the suspect for just a moment. But as he continued to hold a rag to his fellow Longhorn’s bleeding neck, the suspect kept walking.
His friends call him a hero, but Dania doesn’t think he is. “It’s not a hero thing, it’s just what my mom taught me, help other people.”