UTPD officer calls interaction with UT stabbing suspect ‘eerie’

Police arresting Kendrex White at the University of Texas at Austin on May 1, 2017. (Courtesy: Ashvin Govil)
Police arresting Kendrex White at the University of Texas at Austin on May 1, 2017. (Courtesy: Ashvin Govil)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Travis County state district judge has granted several motions to preserve the television interview UT stabbing suspect Kendrex White did with KPRC from jail.

White’s attorney filed the motions Thursday, and in the court documents called it “relevant” and “possibly favorable to the defense.”

The day before, White’s attorneys Jana Ortega and Gabriella Young said they, along with White’s family, “are greatly disheartened by the video release” and that White lacks “the mental capacity to understand the purpose or nature of that interview.”

Friday, the judge also signed off on an order from White’s attorney asking for all medical records related to any evaluations and treatment.

In the TV interview, White told the reporter he has no memory of stabbing anyone, and has been told he has epilepsy, schizophrenia and hears voices.

The University of Texas police officer who stopped White and brought him down to the ground just inside the Jester dormitory describes White’s demeanor as calm and unusual.

“He was quite cooperative,” said Officer Eric Park. “I didn’t ask him any questions, we didn’t hold a conversation, but just his expression was just like this was perfectly normal… eerie is the best way I can describe it.”

Officer Park says White ignored his first command to drop the knife, and kept walking toward the dorm. The second time he ordered White to put the knife down, he followed instructions.

“He turned and locked eyes with me and at that point he decided it was up,” said Park. “And he opened his hand and just let the knife fall.”

Officer Park says he has not watched White’s interview from jail. “I don’t really want to speculate on what was going through his mind or what he was thinking,” said Park.

Since that day Officer Park has been trying not to dwell on the past. He was back on the job the very next day.

UT police are still working extended 12-hour shifts as a result of beefing of patrols after the stabbings. White’s next court date is a week away, but it could be much longer until the trial begins.

Most high-profile murder cases in Central Texas have taken at least a year and a half to work through the court system.

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