Suspect In UT Stabbing Spree Had Mental Health Issues

May 2, 2017

The suspect accused of stabbing four people Monday near Gregory Gym on UT campus may have been "suffering from mental health issues," UT Police Chief David Carter said.

Kendrex White, a 21-year-old junior, has been booked on a charge of murder in the death of first-year student Harrison Brown. He faces additional assault charges for the stabbing of three others. As of Tuesday morning, one of those victims was still in the hospital, UT President Greg Fenves said.

At a press conference, Carter said police believed White did not have a "vendetta" against a particular group, despite theories circulating on campus. He added that White had recently been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.

"We have solid grounds and reason to believe that the individual was suffering from mental health issues," he said. "He still will and needs to be held accountable.”

Carter said officers were at the scene about 90 seconds after receiving the first 911 call and soon had White in custody. He said that speed likely saved lives.

In response to complaints about how police alert the campus community to emergencies, he said police did not put out an audio alert because there was not an ongoing threat.

"It had been resolved," he said. "We also recognize that if there is a vacuum and police are not providing that information, then somebody is going to fill that."

Brown’s murder was the second on the UT campus is just over a year. Before Haruka Weiser’s death last spring, there had been no murder on the Austin campus since the tower shootings in 1966.

A memorial gathering was planned for Brown and the other victims on the Main Mall at 7 p.m. Wednesday.  

According to Fenves, his brother John said Brown wanted to follow his passion for music.

"[We] will never be able to hear Harrison play or sing again. And for this, our hearts are breaking and we are deeply, deeply sad," Fenves said. 

In what police called an "unrelated incident" Monday, a student was stabbed in the West Campus neighborhood after intervening in an apparent assault on a young woman. Police are looking for that assailant. The Texas Department of Public Safety is increasing patrols. 

Watch the press conference below.