Houston: A community college student, who said he had fantasised since childhood about stabbing people to death, went on a slashing spree at his Houston campus on Tuesday, wounding at least 14 people, two of them critically, before bystanders subdued him, police said. The suspect, identified as Lone Star College student Dylan Quick, 20, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault stemming from the rampage, carried out with a weapon described by the Harris County Sheriff's Department as a "razor-type knife."
Eyewitness accounts cited in local media reports on the attack said the weapon appeared to be a box-cutter or "exacto" knife. The campus, part of a Houston-area community college network, was placed on a security lockdown and closed for the remainder of the day. The northwest Houston campus where the attack occurred has about 20,000 students.
According to a sheriff's department statement issued on Tuesday night, Quick told investigators who questioned him that he had harbored fantasies of stabbing people to death since he was in elementary school, and that he had planned the attack for some time. Fragments of the blade used in the assault were found in at least one of the victims, and additional broken blade pieces were recovered from "the area where the cutting occurred," the sheriff's office said. The weapon's handle was found in Quick's backpack when he was taken into custody, the sheriff's office said.
The suspect appeared to have acted alone, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said. Of the 14 people known to have been injured, two were listed in critical condition, four in fair condition and eight others had minor injuries, Garcia said. Garcia said that students and faculty in the vicinity quickly responded to subdue the suspect.
Michael Chalfan, a student at the college, said he saw police shooting the suspect with a stun gun. Chalfan said he was in a drama class with Quick about a year ago and described him as an eccentric student who carried a stuffed pet monkey around campus and regularly wore workout gloves. "He dresses weird," Chalfan told reporters. Rand Key, chief operating officer of the college system, said the campus would reopen on Wednesday.
In January, at another campus of Lone Star College in the Houston area, three people were shot. The Lone Star College System has six colleges and several smaller centers in the Houston area, with a total of about 90,000 students. The Tuesday incident was the latest in a series of attacks at schools across the country during 2012.
The most deadly of those, a shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut, last December, left 26 people dead, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In Taft, California, in January, a student armed with a shotgun opened fire at a high school, critically wounding a fellow student before two adult staff members talked the boy into giving up his weapon, and he was arrested. The attacks have prompted calls for tighter security at the nation's schools and a drive for tighter gun control laws.