KANSAS CITY Mo. – A man who was mumbling and carrying a knife in a building where Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was scheduled to hold a news conference stabbed a college dean in the neck Tuesday before being subdued by witnesses.
Albert Dimmitt, the dean of instruction at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City, was slashed in the neck. He was standing in a hallway with a group of administrators awaiting Nixon’s arrival at Penn Valley when the man walked out of a computer laboratory and stabbed him.
Dimmitt was in stable condition after having surgery at a Kansas City hospital, said Kathy Walter-Mack, a spokeswoman for the chancellor of the Metropolitan Community College system, which includes Penn Valley.
Walter-Mack declined to say if the suspect was a student at the college or if there was any interaction between him and the dean before the stabbing.
She said the college system’s top administrators, including Mark James, the presidents of its five campuses, and its board of trustees, were invited to the event.
“I can’t speculate as to what might have been going on in the suspect’s mind, but I can tell you that, as terrible as this is, we were grateful that we were able to respond immediately, and all of the information that we have so far would indicate that our employee will recover,” she said.
A witness told The Associated Press that the man appeared to be “very angry” and was holding a knife as he paced around in the computer laboratory about 9:40 a.m. in the college’s Humanities building.
Mason Hakes, a 19-year-old political science student from Kansas City, said the man, wearing black pants and a black shirt and carrying a backpack, went up to the podium where Nixon was scheduled to give a 10 a.m. news conference and mumbled something incoherent.
“He didn’t necessarily, like, flash (the knife) off to anybody, but he walked around the room very much with a purpose,” Hakes said.
When Hakes and some of the other 50 to 75 people in the room left to call security, the man followed them out of the room.
“I heard somebody yell,” Hakes said. “I looked back, and he was running out of the room after us.”
Hakes said, after the dean was stabbed, he fell and the man fell on top of him. Hakes and five or six other people, including James, pulled the suspect off the dean. They administered first aid to the dean and held the suspect until security arrived.
Police said in a statement that some witnesses said the man appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
“He just looked really, really angry to me,” Hakes said. “I’m not sure if he was or wasn’t under the influence of drugs or not.”
Walter-Mack said the chancellor and other administrators were unavailable to comment because they did not want to jeopardize the police investigation.
“Anytime anything like this happens, it’s distressing,” she said. “It’s nothing anyone who works in the public arena wants to think about or face, but we can take some comfort in the response and in knowing that we were equipped to handle it when it did, unfortunately, occur.”
The suspect, who was identified as 22-year-old Casey Brezik of Raytown, was being held at police headquarters. The Jackson County prosecutor has charged Brezik with two counts each of first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
Penn Valley is one of five campuses of the Metropolitan Community College system in the Kansas City area. Walter-Mack said 6,677 students attend Penn Valley. Classes continued after the stabbing, except for the area of the Humanities building cordoned off by police.
Nixon had planned to discuss details of $57.6 million in funds awarded to expand high-speed broadband access in Missouri, including at seven community colleges. He continued his Tuesday schedule and held conferences on the topic in Springfield and Camdenton.