Return to Transcripts main page


Stabbing Attack at Texas College

Aired April 9, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We don't know if, in fact, the weapon used was this X-Acto knife that we're hearing from reports from our Houston affiliate KTRK. We are going to get to all of that here, and we will be talking with a professor in a matter of moments there on campus.

But, first, I want you to listen to something. I want you to listen to the public information officer from Harris county, speaking on campus, to reporters, minutes ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as we know, he's the only suspect at this point. If anything changes, I will bring you up to date on that. But as of right now, we have one suspect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell you anything to confirm that right now. But this is what we have. We have the suspect. The situation has been detained. The school is on lockdown. Once that has been done, and we have gone through and the investigation continues, I will be able to give you more information.

The chancellor of the college and Sheriff Garcia will be giving an official statement here within the hour or so. Bear with us. It is a fluid scene. As soon as I can get everything I can, I will bring it out to you and we will get it all covered.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't confirm the weapon as of right now. Some reports that a pencil, some reports a knife. Until we actually find the weapon, then I will be able to confirm what it was.

QUESTION: Do you have a motive?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No motive as of right now. Students were leaving from class and going to class. And it was -- the attack was at random. As far as right now, we went from building to building. Initial reports that maybe we had two suspects, but I believe now it was the same person running from building to building. No second suspect at this time.

QUESTION: How long is the lockdown going to continue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until -- the college will be on lockdown until our investigation is concluded.


QUESTION: Was it a student at the college?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't confirm any of that right now. Our first initial report was that this individual was wrestled to the ground by a student. Lone Star College Police came and detained him and arrested him at that point.

QUESTION: So, all of the victims were students, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't confirm as far as...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The extent of the injuries, I don't have. I don't know where the whereabouts are. Maybe EMS can give you more on that. The four that were Life Flighted, obviously their injuries were serious enough to be Life Flight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fourteen from what we can confirm through (INAUDIBLE) yes.

QUESTION: And one suspect only right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only one suspect in custody right now.


BALDWIN: Let me just clarify here, as that public information officer was asked about injuries.

I talked to someone on the phone a moment ago, connected to all of this, who confirmed to me that 15 people have been treated. We know that number, 15, 15, 12 taken to the hospital, four as you just heard Life Flighted, so that tells us serious injuries, talking to public information officer with the fire department on the ground, describing some of the serious wounds, lacerations, cuts, gashes on some of these people.

I want to bring in a teacher there at Lone Star College. She is Marianna Sviland.

Marianna, are you with me?


BALDWIN: Tell me where you are and how you are.

SVILAND: I'm OK. A little shook up right now. I'm standing in the parking lot, waiting to leave. Traffic stopped moving and there is a lot of news crews and a lot of cops and just a lot of people trying to get out of here. We're allowed to leave now. But there is no classes for the rest of the day.

BALDWIN: You are allowed to leave. That is new. No longer fully on lockdown.

Let me just -- take me back, Marianna. What did you see and what do you know?

SVILAND: Well, I was first notified by a friend actually who was watching the news. I was in the teacher workroom, so I wasn't in class.

And then I logged into the news and I also got an e-mail from the school officials saying that the school was on lockdown. And I saw -- outside the window, I saw cops running around, and I saw students running, and I realized something was going on. And it was scary.

So, yes, I was just waiting for news and after a while, one of the professors came and herded everyone into a locked-down faculty room, which some students happened to be in the hallway. And other students were locked into their classrooms with their professors.

BALDWIN: So at one point, you along with other teachers and professors and students were locked into a classroom. How fearful were you in that moment?

SVILAND: Pardon me?

BALDWIN: How fearful were you in that moment when here you are, and you don't fully know what is happening, and you're locked into this room?

SVILAND: Right. It was a little bit scary.

All I could I think was at least these doors were locked and you have to be a faculty member to have a key. And even if -- and at that point, we heard the person, there was maybe a second person, and running from building to building. So it was impossible to know. And it was, frankly, scary.

BALDWIN: Marianna, how was the communication from this school, as you were trying to grasp at information and understand what was happening? Because all of us, I'm very mindful it was just a couple of months ago when I know it was a different campus, but a shooting happened at a different Lone Star College campus. How did the school communicate with you?

SVILAND: Well, they sent out an e-mail when they had some information to report. They sent out an e-mail to everybody.

And they also put it on the TV, or in the hallway. It said alert, campus is on lockdown. And when you logged in to any computer, you would see on the first page, you saw a big message, a big alert. I didn't get anything on my cell phone. I think they have a system for that, but I think you may have to be subscribed. I'm not sure.

BALDWIN: And I'm sure you remember the shootings that happened that rocked the -- another campus back in the end of January. Did anything happen in the wake of that as far as security, beefing up security on these different campuses? What did the college communicate to all of you as professors and teachers in the case of something like this?

SVILAND: Well, I am not there full time. I'm an adjunct, so I'm part time. I'm probably not the best person to answer that.

They do send out the e-mail messages when they have any information. But, of course, you had to be logged into your e-mail to get those. But they did put it on the TV screens. They have a lot of monitors around in the hallways and they did put it up fairly quickly on those, I think.

BALDWIN: And just finally, Marianna, did you see with your own eyes any of these presumably students who were stabbed? We were talking to a 19-year-old freshman a moment ago and she had taken pictures and she was describing just the blood over these students' faces and encasing their phones, down their arms. Did you see any of that?

SVILAND: I did not see any of that.

I just heard kind of from another faculty member that some students had reported to her what they thought was somebody vomiting and they had been drinking too much red Kool-Aid because it was all red and it was all over the staircase. That turned out to be blood. But I didn't see anything firsthand.

I saw the crime tapes around the building where it happened because I could see it from the building I was in.

BALDWIN: OK. Marianna Sviland, a teacher, an adjunct professor at Lone Star College here, Marianna, shaken, but OK. Marianna, thank you for calling in and taking the time to speak with CNN. We appreciate it.

And, Mike Brooks, let me just bring you in, as we have been talking for the better part of the last hour, watching what has been unfolding here on this campus.

I just can't imagine talking to that 19-year-old a moment ago, we will play the sound here in a moment, but just seeing these kids, these college students, bloodied, hearing the professor thinking it was Kool-Aid and then we have the weapon. So we do not know yet what kind of weapon was used, but according to one of our Houston affiliates, KTRK, they are saying they were hearing that it could be an X-Acto knife, like a knife you use to dissecting -- this is the health sciences building.

MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: To hear from Robert (INAUDIBLE) from the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department rescue PIO, saying that most of the serious wounds, most of the cuts they were treating and transporting people for were for lacerations.

And it is here. This is an X-Acto knife, very, very sharp, almost like -- it's a basically like a razor that you can use for dissecting, you put it together, health science building, maybe some kind of dissecting lab, going on there, classes, and very, very sharp. So, you know, you can use this to stab and also to slash and that's why you would have those serious stab wounds and some of those deep lacerations with a basically a razor.

Some people may call it a box cutter, but an X-Acto knife like this.

BALDWIN: Here we are talking so much about guns and gun violence on campus and now talking we're about knives and X-Acto knives. We will be hearing -- let me be clear -- we will be hearing both from the sheriff from Harris County and we will be hearing from the chancellor of Lone Star College in about five minutes from now.

So they may be able to fill in some of the gaps and shed some light as far as who this one suspect is in custody, if in fact this person is a student and what kind of weapon is used because we're certainly not going to sit here and guess. We're just going based upon reporting from Houston.

I mentioned a moment ago, we talked to the student, 19-year-old, Maya Khalil. She in a classroom just next door to some of this melee when it happened, the stabbing. And she took some of these pictures. Let me just replay my conversation with Maya.


MAYA KHALIL, STUDENT: I'm a little shooken up about what happened. But I'm OK now. I'm at home and I'm good.

BALDWIN: You are home. You are good. Can I ask you how did you get off campus? Was it a process?

KHALIL: Well, I was in class and students were talking about how somebody -- a lot of kids got stabbed.

And we got out of the classroom and everybody was out right in front of my classroom, like bleeding on the neck and on the ears. And this girl, it seemed like she was bleeding, like, close to her mouth. It was really scary. And it was so scary.

BALDWIN: Of course it was scary. We're looking at some of the pictures, I think, that you snapped. It looks like some law enforcement, maybe paramedics. Can you walk me through what we're looking at?

KHALIL: Yes. Yes.

The girl right -- yes, that girl right there is the one that I -- the one that I think got stabbed near her mouth. She was covering up her mouth the whole time. And the other girl laying on the floor, she was stabbed, like, in the neck. She had blood on her phone, around her chest and neck area. It wasn't a lot of blood, but there was some blood.

And there was people saying that the guy that stabbed those students was deaf. So I heard that from a few students. BALDWIN: We were hearing that from KTRK, from our Houston affiliate, saying that they were -- there were reports that this student was hearing impaired, though CNN has not been able to confirm that. In fact, we talked to the public information officer and he hasn't been able to confirm if the suspect was even a student.

So we just want to be very careful and very clear here.

But let me ask you this, Maya, where were you when this was all happening? Were you in this classroom, were you nearby? Clearly you were nearby.


I was right there taking the pictures. I was in class, and then when everybody was talking about it, we all got out of class to go see what happened. And it was right in front of us, right when we left class.

BALDWIN: What building is this? Is this the health sciences building?

KHALIL: Yes. This is the health science building.

BALDWIN: So what kind what kind of classes? What kind of classes were happening when this was going on? Do you know what was being taught? Was it science? Was it a dissection class?

KHALIL: The class I was -- I was in, like, the computer lab downstairs, registering for classes for next year. I don't know. There is all kinds of classes in that building.


Did you have a question for her, Mike?

BROOKS: No, on, that's what I was wondering. This was the health sciences building.

And, Maya, how long before -- how long was it after all this started happening that EMS and police were able to get to the victims?

KHALIL: As soon as we got out of class, there was police officers and the ambulance out there. So I think, like, five minutes. That's what I think.


BALDWIN: What, Maya, and I want to let you go soon, but what were people saying as you're taking these pictures? I know this is incredibly frightening for you, for anyone, whether you're 19 or much older. What were you hearing?

KHALIL: I wasn't really hearing much.

After a while, the police officer was telling us to step back and to return to class. And when we got out of class, we found out that we weren't even allowed to leave campus.

BALDWIN: Because of the lockdown. Because of the lockdown.

KHALIL: Yes. But the people that were stabbed weren't crying or anything. They were just very calm and they were very scared. From the look on their face, they were very scared and very shooken.

BROOKS: Maya, was it just on that one floor where we're seeing the pictures taken? Or were there other floors where there were victims that had been cut or had been stabbed?

KHALIL: I'm not 100 percent sure. But what I think is that's the only building where the stabbing took place.


BALDWIN: That was 19-year-old Maya Khalil, now safe and sound in her own home, albeit quite shaken after what she saw today on her own college campus.

We have to take a quick break. We're back in 90 seconds. We will get you more from what has been unfolding from this campus just northwest of Houston, Texas. We're waiting for the vice chancellor of Lone Star College and the sheriff there out of Harris County to step up to the microphones and speak. Back in 90 seconds.


BALDWIN: Want to take you back to Texas as you are hearing a woman, we're going to dip in. But just to explain, she is spelling out the names of some of these officials who reporters are about to hear from.

You will hear in front of the mike from Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and Lone Star College System vice chancellor Rand Key on these 14, possibly 15 victims of stabbings on campus at Lone Star College just this afternoon. Let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... answer as many questions as we can. But just know that this is still an active scene. So if everybody is good, we will start with Sheriff Adrian Garcia.


I am joined by senior vice chancellor and chief operating officer Dr. Rand Key of the Lone Star College System. And he will be also providing important details to today's incident.

Let me also say that I have with me the police chief of the Lone Star community -- of the Lone Star College Police Department, who is here along with his personnel, and his assistant chief as well.

I have the major, the patrol major, Steven Marino (ph), who is also a part of the response to the incident today. And then we also have Lieutenant Ralph Nelson, who is leading the investigation into the incident -- today's incident, with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

To that end, let me say that at 11:12 a.m., we received a call at our 911 call center. The call was described as male on the loose stabbing people, white male, black hat, black and white shirt. The call was received and dispatched shortly thereafter.

We had five units, four deputies, one sergeant respond to the scene. Along with obviously being the first-responder on the scene was the Lone Star College Police Department. We were also supported by Cy- Fair Volunteer Fire Department, Cy-Fair EMS. And we were also supported by the Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers,as well as DPS air units, as well as Houston Police Department air units.

What we know at this point is that we have four victims that we know of -- 14, my apologies -- 14, 14, 1-4, 14 victims that we know of. Of the 14, two have refused treatment. Of the 12, we do know that some have been transported to two different hospitals, Cy-Fair Hospital, as well as Memorial Herman.

We do know that of those at the hospital, two are in critical condition and four are in fair condition. As the victims were being taken to the appropriate hospitals, four were Life Flighted at the early stages of this investigation. Eight were transported via some form of ground transportation, whether ambulance or maybe personal vehicles. We don't know exactly on all eight.

This is a current and ongoing, active investigation. Buildings are still being searched to confirm details that we have. Evidence, video evidence has been reviewed. And it provides us an indication that we have -- that we can confirm at least one and only one suspect in this case. A suspect has been taken into custody, a white male, that we believe is approximately 21 years of age and currently enrolled at Lone Star College System.

We have recovered other evidence that is still currently being processed. The victims appear to be -- have received various injuries. We do not know exactly what type of weapon was used, other than to say that it is at this point an unknown instrument, that we don't know whether a knife or some other type of instrument.

So we don't know that yet. But we do know -- we do have some evidence that is being processed, the investigation is ongoing, suspect is in custody, and...

QUESTION: Can you at least say if you found any type of weapon?

GARCIA: Well, describe what a weapon can be. So to that point...


GARCIA: No firearms. To that end, the investigation is still ongoing. We will not release any more details in regards to evidence that we have, that we believe we have acquired until it is all processed, until we can place that.

Now, let me ask Dr. Key, our partner in this incident, to provide some remarks.

QUESTION: Sheriff, do you have a motive in this?

GARCIA: Dr. Key?

RAND KEY, Lone Star College System: Good afternoon. I am Rand Key with the Lone Star College System.

And let me first express our sincere concern about the students that were injured today. Our thoughts are obviously with them and their families at this point and time. This morning, when the episode did occur, we immediately sent out an alert to shelter in place and lock down. That immediately took place.

During that time, the buildings were monitored, and once it was determined that they were safe and secure, then a very orderly evacuation of the campus did commence. And in fact that's almost concluded, as you can see from the parking lot. The college is closed for the remainder of today.

We are scheduled to resume normal operations tomorrow. As Sheriff Garcia stated, I too would like to thank those other responders that came, the Texas Rangers, Harris County Sheriff's Department and others who assisted in this matter.

Although our president, Dr. Audre Levy, was not on campus today, she was in constant communication with our command center and was right there with us the whole time. But, again, she was off campus. We will continue to monitor the situation. As the sheriff stated, it is an ongoing investigation. So we are somewhat limited in what we can say.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Can you (OFF-MIKE) a timeline on the alerts?


GARCIA: Let me ask the help of the media on one important point. The school is receiving an inordinate number of calls from concerned family members, as you would expect.

We are asking your help to please communicate to students who were on campus, who have been evacuated, as Dr. Key mentioned, to please contact their family members and let them know they're OK.

We're talking about 14 folks that are at the hospital, being treated -- or 12 -- and so we need the media's help to communicate and ask any student who was on campus to please contact their family members and let them know they're OK.

QUESTION: Sheriff, there is a discrepancy in the numbers of injured. Cy-Fair -- at the press conference a little while ago, they said there were 15, three people refusing to be transported. You're saying 14. Are we sure the 14 is correct? GARCIA: Well, we are, again -- we just left the briefing. We confirmed the numbers as we have them. So I'm sharing with you 14, with two that have refused treatment.

QUESTION: Do you have a motive in this? Do you know why anyone...

GARCIA: It is an ongoing investigation. We don't know anything else.


GARCIA: Again, the injuries are -- we don't know how to describe them other than they're injuries. Some are injuries that would it classify them to have critical to fair conditions at the hospital.

So we will have more details as we get information from the medical staff.


GARCIA: Look, it is an ongoing investigation. Work with me on that.


GARCIA: Excuse me?

QUESTION: Were they slashed or punctured?

GARCIA: We don't have those details yet. OK?

The suspect is in custody.


GARCIA: Whether the suspect was injured, we don't have any details.

Let me just say this about that question, though. One of -- some of the details in the call slip did indicate that students or faculty were actively responding to work to subdue this individual. So we're proud of those folks. But we're glad no one else is injured any more severely than they are.


GARCIA: Again, he's in custody. It's an active investigation.


GARCIA: Not by his own choice.

QUESTION: Sheriff, a number of the people that came out told us that a lot of these victims have been cut on their necks and their faces.

GARCIA: They very well may have been. Again, we have collected evident and we're holding on to that until we have effectively processed all evidence collected.

QUESTION: So was he just randomly going around stabbing people from what you have been able to ascertain?

GARCIA: We're going off what the call slip said, man on the loose stabbing people. That's what we got to work with.


QUESTION: ... another incident at Lone Star College.

GARCIA: ... Look, it is not an indication other than some people will do some things that catches us all by surprise. But what is imperative to understand is that Lone Star College Police Department was first on the scene. The Harris County Sheriff's Office was here soon thereafter with incredible support from DPS, Houston Police Department, Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department, Cy-Fair EMS, and many, many, many students are safe.


GARCIA: It is a fluid scene. We're trying to -- the campuses or the buildings have different names, and so we're just trying to figure all that out. It's still very fluid at this point.


GARCIA: He was taken into custody. That's all I can give you at this point.

Let me -- if you will, I will provide remarks in Spanish.


QUESTION: Can you give us a time frame as to exactly when the first alert went out and texts and e-mail, phone calls?

KEY: We used our alert system at approximately...


KEY: Sure, let me ask (INAUDIBLE) Jerome Powell (ph) to come and help address that on the timing of when our alerts went out.


KEY: I will tell you that the first alert went out within minutes. It was received by our dispatch around 11:13. And very shortly thereafter the first alert went out for the shelter and lock in place.

QUESTION: Do you know -- when you say within minutes...

KEY: I'm not familiar with all the immediate details, no, I'm not.

QUESTION: Does somebody have those details?

KEY: We will be able to get those at a later time.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) a series of attacks begin? Was it outside the health sciences building?

KEY: That is still under investigation at this point. We can't really comment on that.

QUESTION: One of the EMS just told us it went from outside through one building and into another. Does that sound correct?

KEY: Again, it is an ongoing investigation. I cannot confirm or -- those type of comments.

QUESTION: Can anybody tell us how big the crime scene is and where it is?

GARCIA: Technically, the campus is the crime scene. We're searching all the buildings.

QUESTION: But he didn't stab people all over the campus. Where did he stab people?

GARCIA: Again, it is a fluid investigation. You're going to challenge me if I give you the wrong details now. Let us get the investigation completed. Let us get the facts straight and we will share that at a later time.


GARCIA: Approximately 6,000 or 7,000 are campus at any given day.

QUESTION: Are all the victims students?

GARCIA: I don't think we have a clear confirmation on that. So, all we know is that we have got a total of 12 victims receiving treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will now do sound bites in Spanish. Again, please remember that there is a lot of information we cannot release because this is an active and ongoing investigation. So we will now speak in Spanish.

BALDWIN: OK. Let's pull away.

You have been listening to -- and we can keep looking at this video -- this is Lone Star College. You just heard from the sheriff there of Harris County, Adrian Garcia.

A couple of points wasn't I just want to highlight to you that was certainly new to me, the number one point being that this sole suspect who is now in custody is, in fact, enrolled at Lone Star College, is a student. He is 21 years of age.

So, that was new. Number two, we're hearing all these numbers thrown out as far as injured. The number we heard there from the sheriff was 14. So, of the 14, 12 are in the hospital getting treated. Two, they were looked at on the scene and said, thanks, but no thanks, don't need to go to the hospital.