A 21-year-old student allegedly attacked four male students with a hunting knife — killing one — on Monday afternoon at the University of Texas at Austin, authorities said.
“This breaks my heart to have to announce this, that any of our students are touched by tragedy,” Greg Fenves, the university president, said at a news conference Monday. “We’re going to actively investigate this.”
Authorities allege that Kendrex J. White stabbed the four students before 2 p.m. local time on campus in the Texas state capital, near the school’s Gregory Gym.
The surviving victims are all 20 or 21 years old, police said.
White was quickly taken into custody on campus and is being questioned, said David Carter, the school’s police chief. He has not yet been charged.
A motive in the assaults was not immediately clear, according to investigators.
One of the stabbings was reported about 1:49 p.m. local time, Carter said at Monday’s news conference. The three other victims were stabbed about the same time in about the same area, all before police spotted the suspect, Carter said.
Carter alleged that White calmly attacked the four students on the campus plaza in the middle of the school day.
The surviving victims have since been hospitalized, authorities said. The student who died has not been identified.
“He [White] walked a little ways, stabbed someone, and then walked a little ways and stabbed another,” Carter alleged. “There’s no reason to believe these individuals are connected [at this time].”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Twitter that he was “praying for all those affected by this heinous attack & for the @UTAustin community.”
University police said other rumored threats on campus Monday were not credible.
The stabbing comes more than a year after the campus was rattled with the news that ballet student Haruka Wesier, 18, was killed as she walked home from class.
Student: ‘It Was Very Traumatic’
A UT Austin student tells PEOPLE she was near the scene of Monday’s stabbings.
“I was sitting at the picnic tables outside [the gym],” says Shamika Kurian, a 19-year-old freshman. “I was sitting with my friends and then all of a sudden we hear screaming and someone told us to run — and I saw the area and people running away from the stabbing, and then I just ran.”
“I really was so scared,” Kurian says. “I tried not to look because it was very traumatic, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget the screaming.”
• With reporting by ROSE MINUTAGLIO