PETERSBURG, Virginia (AP) — A 20-year-old Virginia man walked into a plasma donation centre during a Fourth of July community cookout, asked to use the restroom, then began randomly stabbing people with a long knife as customers and staff members ran for cover, authorities said on Friday.
Jairique Shannon had donated plasma at Octapharma Plasma in Petersburg at least once before and authorities do not know why he attacked people at the centre, Commonwealth’s Attorney Cheryl Wilson told The Associated Press. Three people were hurt.
“There’s no information that he had any grudge against anyone, and at this point we don’t have a motive,” Wilson said.
A recording released by broadcastify.com captures the chaos after the attack began.
“The suspect possibly has a machete. Units use caution,” the dispatcher can be heard saying on the recording. A first responder can be heard saying that one of the victims lost a finger.
Police said the attack took place as patrons were inside donating blood. Wilson said the centre was also hosting a “customer appreciation cookout” outside to thank residents for donating plasma. The business is in a commercial district near a bank and restaurants on the south side of the city, about 40 kilometres south of Richmond.
Irene Banks told WWBT-TV that police praised her daughter, a manager there, as a “hero” for stopping the attacker before officers arrested him.
“She took the man down, they said, my daughter did,” Banks told the television station.
Wilson said that when police arrived, Shannon was outside waiting for them.
“They did not have any issues with arrest; he was compliant at that point,” Wilson said.
Shannon has been charged with three counts of malicious wounding and is being held at the Riverside Regional Jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow in Petersburg General District Court.
A spokesman for a Petersburg hospital that received three patients after the attack said on Friday afternoon that two females had been treated and released.
A male patient in critical condition was transferred elsewhere, Southside Regional Medical Centre spokesman Brandon Seier said.
Petersburg Police said in a tweet that at least one victim’s injuries were considered life-threatening. Octapharma Plasma, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, issued a statement on Friday saying the company is “heartbroken”.