One killed in University of Texas stabbing spree
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Attacker wrote 'Yahushua' on his Twitter account

One killed in University of Texas stabbing spree

Suspect arrested; filmed self wearing Jewish prayer shawl hours before Austin attack

A man is arrested after a fatal stabbing attack on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, on May 1, 2017. (Ray Arredondo via AP)
A man is arrested after a fatal stabbing attack on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, on May 1, 2017. (Ray Arredondo via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas — A student with a large hunting knife stabbed at least four people Monday on the University of Texas campus, killing one and seriously wounding others before surrendering to police, authorities said.

There was no immediate word about a motive.

Police identified the suspect as 21-year-old Kendrex J. White.

One person died at the scene near the gym. The others were taken to the hospital. There were reports of additional victims with non-life-threatening injuries, according to tweets from Travis County Emergency Medical Services.

The attacker did not resist when officers confronted him at gunpoint, Carter said.

White’s social media activity prior to the stabbing suggested he subscribed to a brand of Christian messianism that draws inspiration from Jewish traditions.

Hours before the attack, White posted photos of himself to his Snapchat account wearing a Jewish prayer shawl with Hebrew writing on it, copies of which were posted by the news website Heavy.

Pictures of his arrest appeared to show him wearing the same or similar prayer shawl.

Just prior to the stabbing, White wrote “Yahushua” on his Twitter account, the Hebrew name for Jesus, a term used by some Christian messianists seeking to return Christianity to its roots in Judaism.

White also shared a large number of biblical quotes on his Twitter account in the lead up to the attack.

https://twitter.com/Kchazz/status/859072225315565568

Student Rachel Prichett said she was standing in line at a food truck outside a gym when she saw a man with a knife resembling a machete approach the person standing behind her.

“The guy was standing next to me,” Prichett said. “He grabbed him by the shoulder and shoved the knife in it. I just started running as fast as I could.”

University police Chief David Carter described the weapon as a “Bowie-style” hunting knife. He said the stabbings occurred within a one-block area as the attacker “calmly walked around the plaza.”

A person is treated by first responders after a deadly stabbing attack on University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, Monday, May 1, 2017. (Emily Johnson via AP)
A person is treated by first responders after a deadly stabbing attack on University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, Monday, May 1, 2017. (Emily Johnson via AP)

Another student, Ray Arredondo, said he was walking to his car when a mass of students near the gym started running.

“They were just screaming, ‘Run! Get out of here!'” Arredondo said.

Lindsey Clark said she saw the suspect get tackled by police as he was running toward the entrance of Jester Hall, a complex of dormitories and classrooms. She described him as wearing a bandanna and gray sweatshirt and said he appeared quiet and subdued as police held him on the ground.

“You could see and hear people running and screaming: ‘There he is!'” before he was tackled by officers, Clark said.

Carter said it would be “premature” to discuss the suspect’s motive and “what was going through his mind.”

Arredondo later saw what looked like CPR being performed on someone outside the front door of the gym. Another student was sitting on a bench being treated for cuts to the head or neck, he said.

Authorities cordoned off the scene as a large contingent of state and local police, including officers in helicopters, swarmed the area.

Emergency personal work near the scene after a fatal stabbing attack on the University of Texas campus Monday, May, 1, 2017. (Tamir Kalifa/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Emergency personal work near the scene after a fatal stabbing attack on the University of Texas campus Monday, May, 1, 2017. (Tamir Kalifa/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

The University of Texas is blocks from downtown Austin and the Texas Capitol and is one of the nation’s largest universities.

White was an active member of the Black Health Professionals Organization student organization on campus, said Melody Adindu, the group’s new president. She said White was passionate about his work and was “very interactive and easygoing.”

Some of White’s former classmates at Killeen High School, near the gates of the Fort Hood Army post in Central Texas, had similar recollections of him.

“He was a really smart guy in high school, he was always nice, had plenty of friends, and was in the International Baccalaureate program. I’m definitely surprised he would do this,” Kay’Lynn Wilkerson told the Killeen Daily Herald.

Ex-classmate Angela Bonilla called White “the sweetest guy, laughing and having a good time with people”.

Adindu and other students complained on social media it took too long for the campus officials to send a text alert of the attack. Texts to students showed a nearly 30-minute lag between the arrest and warning, even though city and county emergency offices were tweeting about the incident when they first responded.

Carter said White was confronted and arrested within two minutes of the first call to police and the situation was immediately under control. The campus siren wasn’t used because there was no need for a lockdown to keep people in place, he said.

“There was no ongoing threat. We had him in custody as soon as we arrived,” Carter said.

Officials investigate after a fatal stabbing attack at the University of Texas campus, Monday, May 1, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Officials investigate after a fatal stabbing attack at the University of Texas campus, Monday, May 1, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

The attack occurred in the central campus, just a short walk from the administration building and the landmark clock tower that was the scene of a mass shooting in 1966.

“This breaks my heart that any of our students are touched by tragedy. They come here to learn, to look to the future,” said university President Greg Fenves.

The stabbings came only a few days after a 19-year-old man armed with a machete wounded two people at a university coffee shop in Lexington, Kentucky.

In the April 28 attack, the assailant at Transylvania University asked about the political affiliations of people at the shop. He was arrested and charged with assault. The victims’ wounds were not life-threatening, authorities said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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