COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A man armed with three knives went on a stabbing spree in a downtown office building injuring four people before he was shot on the street by a police officer.
The rampage Wednesday happened just blocks from the state Capitol. Authorities said one of the injured was an employee of the state attorney general.
The man confronted one victim in the admissions office of Miami-Jacobs Career College before 1 p.m. and stabbed him, Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner said. Other people intervened and took away a knife the man was using but didn't realize he had others, Weiner said.
“We do know that one of the good Samaritans that came to aid the first victim, he was stabbed also,” Weiner said.
Four men, including the attacker, were in critical condition after the stabbing spree, authorities said, and a fifth man had minor injuries. Police have identified the victims and the attacker but haven't released their names, Weiner said.
Two of the victims were either students or staff members at the privately run school, Weiner said. Two other victims were outside in the lobby area when they were attacked, he said. All the stabbings occurred on the first floor.
The Columbus Dispatch Wednesday night identified two of the victims as 36-year-old Donte' Dunnagan, a financial-aid assistant at Miami-Jacobs, and 53-year-old Jeffrey Maloon, an assistant attorney general.
The state's attorney general has offices in the 25-story building, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Mike DeWine said. DeWine's office isn't in there, and he wasn't present at the time, spokeswoman Lisa Hackley said.
She said she couldn't provide further details about the victim at the family's request.
DeWine thanked the more than 500 attorney general employees who work in the building for their calm response.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by this senseless violence,” DeWine said in a written statement.
A knife was recovered inside the school, and two knives were found near the attacker outside after he had been shot.
Police would not describe the knives except to say they were bigger than pocket knives.
One officer used a stun gun on the attacker at around the time another officer shot him, Weiner said. Officials don't know whether the stabbing was random or stemmed from an earlier issue, he said.
The attacker had a knife in each hand when he went at officers, said Jim Gilbert, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police.
Multiple shots were fired at the man by the officer who was closest to him, Gilbert said. The officer, who has been on the police force for 15 years, “did what she had to do,” Gilbert said.
Weiner said the officer who shot the attacker was working nearby on a regularly scheduled patrol shift when she got the call and arrived first, followed by numerous other officers.
Columbus officers responded within a minute of 911 calls Wednesday to a “very chaotic scene” with people screaming, Gilbert said.
“Many citizens' lives were saved today because of the quick actions, quick response of the Columbus police officers that responded,” he said.
The officer was taken to a hospital with a minor knee injury suffered as she was backing away when the attacker approached her, Gilbert said.
Jason Jackson, who works at Gordon's Gourmet in the building lobby, said he heard that someone had been stabbed, so he ran out of the building. When he went back to see what was happening, he saw the attacker outside.
“He had a knife, and the police had just pulled up, and they're saying, `Sir, you need to stop. You need to just put the knife down.’ He wouldn't,” said Jackson, of Reynoldsburg. “They drew guns. `Sir, please put the knife down.’ And he kind of lunged at them, so they shot him.”
College spokesman Chuck Vella said everyone must sign in before entering the admissions office. He said security personnel are at every campus of the college, which has five other locations around Ohio.
The trade school offers classes in massage therapy, security and investigation, criminal justice and court reporting.
The for-profit college is owned by Delta Career Education Corp., which is based in Virginia Beach, Va. A receptionist at the company said no one wanted to talk about the stabbings.
The company's website said it has 37 campuses and 16,000 students nationwide.
Associated Press writers John Seewer in Toledo and Kantele Franko and Ann Sanner in Columbus contributed to this report.