AUSTIN (KXAN) — The main officer who stopped the stabbing suspect Monday is fairly new to the University of Texas Police Department.
Officer Eric Park approached Kendrex White, 21, in the Jester dorm minutes after police say White stabbed four students, killing one.
Police Chief David Carter said it looked like White was heading toward another group of students when the officers told him to stop and put the knife down. Chief Carter and UT Chancellor Greg Fenves both said Officer Park’s actions, along with an assisting officer, prevented more injuries.
Officer Park joined UTPD in January. Prior to that, he worked for the Brownsville Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety overseeing troopers at the State Capitol Complex.
KXAN requested an interview with Officer Park, but UTPD declined due to the ongoing criminal investigation.
In addition to a large police response Monday from multiple departments, the Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services were on scene in minutes treating patients.
“We went quickly from one patient to three patients to four patients, and then we knew we had a pretty significant event starting to unfold,” said Division Chief Mikel Kane.
ATCEMS had eight seasoned veteran paramedics directly treating patients who were on the last four hours of a 12-hour shift. The team was treating wounds not knowing if the threat was over.
“We train for the secondary device, the third device, the third attack, the next wave,” said Kane. “So everyone’s heads on a swivel.”
Kane was there in a supervisor role supporting the paramedics working directly with injured students. He was also thinking about the parents of the patients, especially Harrison Brown, the one student they were unable to help.
“I have a son the same age as that young man and yeah, I hugged my son real tight and my daughters and my grandson,” said Kane.
Even in the darkest moments that day, he saw a college community coming to each other’s rescue.
“I witnessed the best side of humanity where you see people helping people, and they did it before [paramedics] even got there,” said Kane.
The eight paramedics had the three patients on their way to the hospital in less than 16 minutes. They met at a nearby fire station to debrief and decompress after the intense moments, and then they were back on the road ready for the next call.