UT faculty, students document early moments of deadly stabbing

UT Professor Daniel Bonevac took this photo of the area where a stabbing happened on campus.
UT Professor Daniel Bonevac took this photo of the area where a stabbing happened on campus.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As a stabbing incident unfolded on the University of Texas at Austin campus Monday afternoon, students and faculty on campus were some of the first people to witness the event which killed one student and injured three others.

Many of the earliest photos, both of the attack and of the scene as first responders arrived were all documented in the social media posts of the people walking around on campus.

Daniel Bonevac, a professor of Philosophy who’s been at UT for 37 years, posted some of the earlier photos of the scene on Instagram after he finished teaching at 2 p.m. Bonevac said he’d heard a student talking on the phone who mentioned witnessing a stabbing, so he immediately scanned the internet for details.

“And there was nothing out there, so I thought people need to know about what’s going on, and so I put a few things on Instagram just to alert friends and people I know,” Bonevac explained. Though the victims and suspect were no longer there, Bonevac saw many of the initial first responders arriving at the scene. He explained that “throngs” of students showed up to watch the scene in the hour following the stabbing.

“It’s terrifying. This is the last week of classes here,” Bonevac said. “People were partly in in anticipation and excitement about the end of classes, and partly judging from my own classes, terrified about final papers final exams. But nobody was thinking about the possibility of an incident like this, everybody was focused on the academic part.”

In his nearly four decades at UT, Bonevac said he could only recall one other incident of a similar magnitude. He recounted an incident in 2010 where a student took out an assault rifle on campus and ultimately used the weapon to kill himself.

“It was a tragic incident but not one that posed any danger to anyone else in the end,” Bonevac said. “This one was very different because a variety of people were hurt and one was killed.”

He explained that the feeling of invulnerability on the UT campus gets shattered during these types of events.

“For some people, it’s utterly life changing. My heart goes out to [the families of those involved] because they aren’t going to get over this in any short period of time,” he said.

While the incident today involved a knife, Bonevac hopes that the conversation about this event doesn’t just focus on the type of weapon used.

“Instead, focus on why someone who would do something like this from a psychological perspective,” he suggested.

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