Victim Darlene Horton planned to return with husband to Tallahassee today after summer session abroad
The American woman stabbed to death Wednesday night in London by a knife-wielding attacker who injured five others is the wife of a Florida State University professor who was teaching abroad, PEOPLE confirms.
Darlene Horton, 60, was the wife of Richard Wagner, an FSU psychology professor who had just finished teaching in the university’s summer abroad program, reports the Tallahassee Democrat.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the university confirms that Wagner and his wife were in Central London’s Russell Square where the attack occurred. Horton died at the scene.
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“James Pitts, director of FSU International Programs, said students already had left the program for the summer, and none were involved in the incident at Russell Square,” the university’s statement said. “Pitts said that university administrators in London immediately offered assistance to Wagner. The couple had planned to return to Tallahassee today, Aug. 4.”
“There are no words to express our heartache over this terrible tragedy,” said FSU President John Thrasher in the statement. “We are shocked that such senseless violence has touched our own FSU family, and we will do all we can to assist Professor Wagner and his loved ones, as well as his friends and colleagues in the psychology department, as they mourn.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott mourned the loss in a tweet: “Extremely saddened to hear about the loss of Darlene Horton in London. Ann and I are praying for her family and loved ones.”
Authorities who initially faced questions about a terrorist attack later backed off that concern, stating the investigation revealed the assailant was “triggered by mental heath issues,” said Mark Rowley, an assistant commissioner with London’s Metropolitan Police, according to The New York Times. Police arrested a 19-year-old Norwegian man of Somali ancestry, but said his background did not appear “relevant to the motivation for his actions.”
“So far we have found no evidence of radicalization or anything that would suggest the man in our custody was motivated by terrorism,” Rowley told reporters.