Suspect Named in Virginia Machete Attack

jairque l shannon

Riverside Regional Jail/North Prince George, Virginia Jairque L. Shannon has been charged with three counts of malicious wounding and one count of animal cruelty after going on a stabbing rampage at blood donation center in Petersburg, Virginia on July 4, 2019.

A man wielding a machete walked into a Virginia blood plasma donation center on Independence Day and began attacking blood donors and staff. Jairque L. Shannon, 20, was taken into custody on July 4 by the Petersburg Bureau of Police. No motive was given for the rampage at the Octapharma Blood Plasma Center. Shannon is set to be arraigned on July 8.

Shannon is being held without bail at the Riverside Regional Jail.

Shannon has been charged with three counts of Malicious Wounding. Malicious Wounding involves the intent to injure, maim, disable or kill the victim.

He is also charged with one count of Torture/Mutilate Dog or Cat Causing Death. Heavy reached out to Petersburg Animal Care and Control regarding the animal cruelty charge. A representative with the agency said the investigation was ongoing ans details could not be provided.

Shannon Was Identified as a Previous Blood Donor

Jairque L. Shannon

Riverside Regional Jail, North Prince George, VirginiaJairque L. Shannon

The incident occurred at the Octopharma Plasma Center, located in the 2000 block of Sycamore Street in Petersburg around 4:40 p.m. while donors were giving blood and taking part in a Fourth of July community appreciation cookout.

Petersburg Bureau of Police Captain Emanuel Chambliss said that Shannon walked into the center with the knife concealed under his clothing. He asked to use the bathroom. When he came out of the restroom he went on a rampage, causing terrified blood donors and staff to flee. Commonwealth of Virginia Attorney Cheryl Wilson Shannon confirmed Shannon was a previous donor at the facility but did not think he was angry with staff or the company.

WTVR reporter Melissa Hipolit described a video she saw of the incident. “We were shown some video taken by someone inside the plasma center right after the attack, and I can tell you it looked like a pretty gruesome scene,” she said.

The Associated Press is reporting that the police dispatcher warned responders that a man with a long knife was in the blood donation center and that nurses and patients were hiding in a bathroom. A first responder was heard over the radio saying that one victim had lost a finger. Chambliss said responding officers found Shannon sitting and waiting for them. He was arrested without incident.

The Plasma Center’s Manager Is Being Hailed as a Hero

Irene Banks arrived at the plasma center to check on her daughter, who is the facility’s manager. She did not reveal her daughter’s name but told NBC12 that police had commended her for attempting to stop Shannon. “It scared me so bad, knowing that she took the man down and stopped him and wasn’t stabbed herself,” Banks said.

Shannon’s three victims were transported to Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg. One male patient was transferred to another hospital and is listed in critical condition. One female victim is listed in good condition, while the other is in fair condition. The Petersburg Police Bureau tweeted that Shannon’s other victims were treated and released. No further details about Shannon’s other victims have been provided.

Police also searched Shannon’s home, described as being near the plasma center. Neighbors told CBS6 they spotted police cars and an ambulance outside the home. One witness told WTVR someone from inside the home was was placed in the ambulance.

Octapharma Is Currently Assisting with the Investigation

Octapharma Plasma is a U.S.-based blood plasma company. The company said on Facebook that they are currently working with authorities to provide any necessary health or information.

Octapharma Plasma’s parent corporation is Octapharma AG a privately-owned biotechnology company headquartered in Lachen, Switzerland. The company develops therapies to treat chronic blood conditions such as hemophilia. According to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Marguerre, Octopharma’s goal is to provide “new health solutions advancing human life.”

On July 5, Octapharma released a statement on Facebook saying that it was “heartbroken over the violent incident that occurred at our Petersburg, Virginia donation center on Thursday, July 4,” and that the company’s “sole focus remains on supporting those involved and impacted in Thursday’s event.” Octapharma said they would not be releasing any further statements about the attack. Octopharma Plasma Center corporate policy prevents staff from commenting publicly about the incident.

The plasma center is located in Petersburg, a city of approximately 32,000 residents located approximately 25 miles south of Richmond on the Appomattox River. The facility is currently closed to the public. The company’s website says the Petersburg plasma center is currently closed until further notice.

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