Police: Suspect in Texas stabbings had mental health trouble
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The man suspected of stabbing four students at the University of Texas, one fatally, suffered from mental health troubles and had been involuntarily committed for treatment in another city, authorities said Tuesday.
University Police Chief David Carter said Kendrex J. White was “obviously” suffering from some kind of mental difficulties, but he did not elaborate on the suspect’s condition or treatment.
“This was not a conspiracy. This was not a person that had a vendetta against any particular group,” Carter said.
White, 21, who was also enrolled at the Austin campus, was armed with a large hunting knife. He was described by former classmates as intelligent and easygoing and was active in a student group for black professionals.
Two of the people wounded in Monday’s attack were treated and released from hospitals and a third remained hospitalized, university President Greg Fenves said.
The student who was fatally stabbed was identified as freshman Harrison Brown. Fenves described him as a talented musician who had not yet decided on a major. The president met with Brown’s family Tuesday morning.
“His family and our community will never be able to hear Harrison play and sing again,” Fenves said.
Brown was the first person to be stabbed as White struck a path across a plaza in the heart of campus. The area is near a gym and recreation center and one of the school’s largest dorm and classroom complexes.
Before the attacks, White was seen in the student activity center “appearing normal.” As he left there, he kicked a woman as if to get her out of his way, the police chief said.
Wielding a large “Bowie-style” knife, White attacked Brown, then stabbed another man sitting at a picnic table in the back of the head. A third man was stabbed while waiting in line at a food truck before White assaulted a fourth victim, Carter said.
White walked into a dormitory still holding the knife but did not attack anyone else before he was apprehended. Officers were on the scene about 90 seconds after the first call, a response that officials believe possibly saved others, Carter said.
White was charged with murder, and more charges are expected, acting Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.
The site of the attack was along a tree-covered avenue that is a major thoroughfare for students walking to and from class. It’s also short walk from the administration building and the landmark clock tower that was the scene of a mass shooting in 1966, and not far from where freshman Haruka Weiser was killed while walking home from class in April 2016.
The plaza was re-opened to foot traffic by Tuesday morning. Senior Montana Moore brought flowers to place on the tables. Someone else left candles.