The Ruston Leader is now reporting that one of the victims, Annie Richardson, has died.
Louisiana Tech revealed that Johnson, a senior student at the university, “has been booked into the Lincoln Parish Detention Center and charged with four counts of attempted second-degree murder. The investigation is ongoing.” The victims included one other student, the university said in a statement.
One of the victims was identified by the Ruston Leader as Dominique McKane, “a graduate student who was leaving a water aerobics practicum class in Tech’s Department of Kinesiology at the Lambright at the time of the attack.” According to her Facebook page, McKane is also serving in the National Guard.
The Ruston Leader identified the other victims as “former 3rd District Judge Cynthia Woodard, artist Annie Richardson, and retired teacher Debby Hollimon, all of Ruston.” Woodward and Richardson were initially “in critical but stable condition,” the newspaper reported, and McKane was in stable condition. Hollimon “did not require treatment,” the newspaper reported.
The stabbing attack occurred on November 13, 2023. There is a photo people are sharing on X that they say is of Johnson, but Heavy is working to verify it.
Here’s what you need to know:
The University Says the Stabbing Attack Appeared ‘Random’ & the Suspect Ran Up Behind & ‘Surprised’ the Victims
The university called the stabbings “random.”
According to the Ruston Leader, the victims “were attacked as they walked down the sidewalk on the east side of the intramural center near the outdoor swimming pool.” The Leader reported that Johnson “had reportedly been inside the building and ran out, encountering the victims in his path.”
“It sounds like he ran up behind them and surprised them,” Louisiana Tech Police Chief Randal Hermes told the Ruston Leader.
Shortly after 9 a.m., “there was a stabbing incident reported at the Lambright Sports and Wellness Center on the Louisiana Tech University campus. Tech Police received a phone call at approximately 9:08 a.m. and had the suspect in custody at approximately 9:12 a.m.,” Louisiana Tech wrote.
“This appears to be a random act of violence. The suspect has been identified as Louisiana Tech student, Jacoby Johnson. He is being treated at Northern Louisiana Medical Center for injuries received during the initial incident. Ruston Police Department and the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted with scene control and evidence collection,” the university wrote.
“There are four known victims; two were transported to a local hospital, one was airlifted to Shreveport, and the other refused treatment. As of 11:40 a.m., one victim is in critical condition at NLMC, and the two other victims are in serious but stable condition. The victim airlifted is a graduate student. The other three victims are non-students,” the statement said.
At this time, the Lambright Center “is closed and will reopen at 1 p.m. All other campus operations are normal. The investigation is ongoing, and the University will provide an update later this afternoon,” Louisiana Tech continued.
Jacoby Johnson Is Accused of Stabbing People Who Were Leaving the Building & Exercise Class
The university revealed that the stabbings occurred at the Lambright Sports and Wellness Center on campus. “The attack happened outside of the building as the victims were leaving. The suspect then fled south toward main campus and was apprehended by campus police without incident.”
According to the Ruston Leader, “Woodard and Richardson were leaving a senior exercise class” when they were attacked. McKane was attacked in the parking lot, as was Hollimon, who tried to help him, the newspaper reported.
“Thanks to the efficient actions of the Louisiana Tech University Police, the suspect in this morning’s stabbing incident at the Lambright Sports and Wellness Center was apprehended and taken into custody quickly,” the university wrote in its statement.
“The Ruston Police Department, the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Ruston Fire Department, and Pafford EMS assisted in scene control and the provision of care, aid, and transportation to the four victims of the attack.”
Dominique McKane Is a Wife & Mother Who Serves in the National Guard & Cynthia Woodard Is a Retired Judge
Chandler McKane shared a picture of Dominique McKane to Facebook and wrote, “Update. We got her a Dr Pepper and snickers 🤣😎🙌 Hoping to come home today. She misses her babies.”
A woman wrote on her page, “The absolute STRONGEST and BRAVEST woman I know! I talked with Dominique this morning and she is in great spirits which is a testament to just how tough she is. I can not put into words how proud I am of her for putting herself in harms way to help the others who were attacked. Our girl has some healing to do but one thing is for sure, Dominique Moses Mckane will always persevere!”
The woman added, “Through a National Guard commitment, Chandler’s deployment, two pregnancies, being a full time student and an amazing mom… and now this attack… Dominique has earned her college degree and will be graduating this Saturday.
We are going into this holiday season with SO much to be thankful for…”
According to Ballotpedia, Cynthia T. Woodard was “a judge of the 3rd Judicial District in Louisiana (Union and Lincoln Parishes). She was elected to this position in 1996. She was re-elected in 2014 for a term beginning on January 1, 2015, and expiring on December 31, 2020.” She has retired.
According to the Ruston Leader, Richardson was an artist.
According to her Facebook page, Hollimon is a “Former Reading/Study Skills Program Director at the USAFA Prep School at United States Air Force Academy.”
Heavy is working to verify a photo of Richardson.
The University President Called the Stabbing Spree ‘Unsettling’& One of the Victims Described the Suspect’s ‘Flat’ Expression
“In the wake of this unsettling incident, our hearts go out to those impacted most directly,” Louisiana Tech President Les Guice said in the university’s statement.
“Our immediate focus is on those affected by today’s violence. While we’re grateful for the timely care being provided to the victims, we understand the shock and worry that may linger on campus and in the community,” he said. “The University will continue to make safety a priority. Please know that you can and should be willing to give and receive compassion and support as needed during this time. I encourage you to rely on the bonds of the Tech community as we grieve and heal.”
According to Louisiana Tech, “The University’s Counseling Services are available to students individually and in a group setting at no charge. Appointments can be made by visiting Keeny Hall 310, calling 318.257.2488, or visiting the website at latech.edu/counseling-services/.”
“A special counseling group offering began today at 3 p.m. and will run throughout the week to provide a space to process emotions following the unexpected event. Additionally, a community prayer vigil will be hosted by the Black Student Union tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the Quad,” the university noted. “A campus blood drive is scheduled for Thursday outside Tolliver Hall between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.”
Hollimon, one of the victims, told Ruston Leader, “I just ran up screaming, ‘get off her, get away from her!’ He stands up and looks at me with no expression, just as flat as can be.”
Of victim McKane, she said, “She was bleeding everywhere, it was horrible. We were putting pressure on stuff. She was very clammy, very cold, very pale. She had lost blood, and we were just trying to keep her alive.”
“I was standing at my truck, and I see four girls running, screaming bloody murder, and a young man came out,” witness Lesa Henderson said to the Ruston Leader.
“They got down to the end of the walkway, and three girls got away. This girl — I thought he was hitting her. I just thought it was somebody fighting. I never dreamed there was a knife.”
Johnson “appears to suffer from mental conditions,” the Ruston Leader reported, citing the police chief.