A Pafford EMS medical transport helicopter lifts off from outside...

A Pafford EMS medical transport helicopter lifts off from outside Joe Aillet Stadium on Louisiana Tech University campus to transport a victim from a Monday morning stabbing incident that took place at the Lambright Sports & Wellness Center, in Ruston, La., Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. Credit: AP/Caleb Daniel

RUSTON, La. — Four women were stabbed Monday morning on the campus of Louisiana Tech University in the north Louisiana city of Ruston in what university officials and local police said appeared to be a random attack by a student.

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker said three of the four suffered serious injuries and were transported to a hospital in Shreveport. The university issued a statement saying campus police caught a suspect — a 23-year-old man —within minutes of the stabbings.

Ruston Police Chief Steve Rogers said the man was being booked into jail Monday afternoon after being treated for unspecified injuries. He was to be held on four counts of attempted second-degree murder, Rogers said at an afternoon news conference with Walker.

Rogers said the weapon believed to have been used was a folding knife with a blade estimated about four inches long.

Of the four people stabbed, one was a graduate student, who was the first to be taken to a Shreveport hospital. The other victims were not students. Two were first hospitalized in Ruston, then transferred to Shreveport, Walker said.

“We have two that we know are in critical but stable condition, one that is in stable condition," Walker told reporters.

A fourth victim refused treatment, according to the university.

“This appears to be a random act of violence,” the university's statement said.

“It sounds like he ran up behind them and surprised them,” Louisiana Tech Police Chief Randall Hermes told the Ruston Daily Leader.

Rogers said police had had contact with the suspect roughly a week earlier, but provided few details. “We had one reported incident with him,” Rogers said. “It wasn't criminal. We went and checked him out and had people check him out. He was fine at that time.”

The attack happened shortly after 9 a.m. at Tech's Lambright Sports and Wellness Center, a recreation center that offers fitness classes to students and the Ruston community.

Tech police received a call at 9:08 a.m. and the suspect was reported in custody about four minutes later.

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This story has been corrected to show that Hermes is the chief of the Louisiana Tech police department.

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