Shortly after the one-year anniversary that marked the death of University of Texas student Haruka Weiser, a different student has died in a violent stabbing on campus.
Harrison Brown, a first-year student at UT from North Texas, was near Gregory Gymnasium when police believe a different student, Kendrex White, stabbed him to death. Brown was among several who were allegedly stabbed by White.
Here’s what we know so far:
In the afternoon of May 1, witnesses told police they observed White in the Student Activity Center on campus. He exited the building on the south side, UT Police Chief David Carter said at a May 2 press briefing.
Witnesses told UT police that he appeared “normal.”
He walked southbound on the west side of Gregory Gym, where he encountered a female student. Carter said at the press conference that he then was seen kicking the female student, “as if he was kicking her out of the way,” he said.
That’s when police believe White stabbed Brown. In an affidavit obtained by KVUE May 3, a friend of Brown's told police that he saw a man make a "punching motion" toward Brown's chest.
White continued to walk southbound, found a male sitting at a picnic table and allegedly stabbed him in the back of the head.
White is then believed to have stabbed a third victim followed by a fourth victim in the vicinity.
Carter said UTPD received a call regarding the stabbings at 1:46 p.m., and that officers arrived at 1:48 p.m.
With what has been described as a “Bowie style hunting knife” still in his hand, Carter said he walked into the Jester Dormitory as a police officer told White to drop the knife. After White ignored the officer's commands, the officer gave him commands a second time. At that point, White dropped the knife and got down on the ground just inside the entrance to Jester. Officers took him into custody.
Carter said it’s that quick response from UTPD that kept others from being harmed.
Here is a photo provided to KVUE of the suspect being arrested:
At 3:15 p.m., UT police said there was no longer a threat to campus.
When police read White his Miranda rights, he agreed to speak, according to his arrest affidavit.
When he was asked if he knew why he was there, White said, "Yes, accusations of pushing someone down and I think using a bladed weapon," the affidavit said.
When officers asked if he was hearing voices in his head, he said "that his mind told him to, 'tell the truth and withhold any action that he did because it really didn't happen,'" the affidavit said.
White allegedly stopped the interview and said, "If I did something I don't remember then I want to be told," according to the affidavit.
White has been charged with murder, a first-degree felony. He is being held on a $1 million bond.
What we know about the suspect
White is a 21-year-old student at UT.
He has been charged with murder, according to APD. Online records at the Travis County Jail state his bond has been set at $1 million.
Austin Police Department Interim Chief Brian Manley said other charges are expected to be filed. A search on his criminal records showed that he was arrested in early April for allegedly driving while intoxicated. During that arrest, he allegedly told officers he had been prescribed “happy pills.”
During the May 2 press briefing, police said White was committed in another city.
What was the suspect's motive?
Shortly after the stabbing, rumors were flying on social media regarding the suspect’s motive. Many were speculating that White had targeted members of UT fraternities and sororities.
Authorities do not have information to support that theory.
None of the victims were wearing anything that would indicate they were members of a fraternity. Police do not believe this was a targeted attack or that it was a conspiracy.
UTPD Chief Carter said White has a history of mental illness.
Brown, the UT freshman, has died.
Austin-Travis County EMS said that in addition to Brown, three other people were taken to the hospital. An additional one or two people were said to have minor injuries and were not taken to the hospital, according to ATCEMS.
Several hours after the attack, UT President Greg Fenves said two of the victims had been released from the hospital.
All of the victims were male students.
On the evening of the attack, Graham Independent School District in North Texas identified the deceased as Brown. He was a part of Graham High School’s graduating class of 2016.
Graham ISD provided KVUE with photos of Brown on May 2:
KVUE’s Michael Perchick spoke with Graham High School’s principal. Here is what he was a part of at the school:
- Acapella choir
- Student Council
- Technology Student Association
- Key Club
- Drama Club
- Voted “student class favorite”
Brown was a non-initiated, new member of the UT chapter of Phi Delta Theta.
“… the brothers of the Texas Beta and the Longhorn community lost a close friend in Harrison Brown,” Phi Delta Theta said in a statement.
KVUE's Rebeca Trejo witnessed two friends of Brown's place flowers at Gregory Gym to remember their friend:
UT President Fenves spoke with Brown’s family following the attack. He said Brown was “trying to decide what path he wanted to follow in life.”
Although he was interested in many things, Fenves said Brown “wanted to follow his passion in music.”
“His family will never be able to hear Harrison play again,” Fenves said.
A memorial fund has been set up for the Brown family. Go here to donate.
Other incidents in West Campus are not related, police say
There were two other incidents that happened in West Campus the day of the violent stabbing on campus. Police said those incidents are not related to the deadly stabbing on campus.
In one of the incidents, police said a man was stabbed after trying to stop another man from threatening a woman with a knife in West Campus at around 3 p.m. Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect who stabbed the man. Go here for details.
ATCEMS confirmed to KVUE May 2 that a body was found in a West Campus apartment the night of May 1. Again, police said this is not related to the other stabbing incident in West Campus or the deadly stabbing incident on campus that same day. Police do not believe that death is suspicious. Go here for details.
The investigation and police reaction
APD Interim Chief Manley said APD, the FBI, CIA, the District Attorney’s Office, Department of Public Safety and U.S. Marshals are all assisting with the investigation. He said he is committed to lending every resource and to assist in any way the department can.
Manley said in the press briefing May 2 that APD failed in not putting out information on the incident in West Campus until 9:38 p.m. He said they should have released information on that incident earlier.
Although Manley said DPS will assist with patrols in West Campus going forward, he said that students need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Resources for students
The UT Counseling and Mental Health Center has extended their hours in light of the violent attack. They will be open until 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The 24-hour hotline can also be reached at 512-471-2255.
If you are worried about a student in your class, a roommate or a co-worker? Go here to find out how to report that behavior.