The suspect has been charged in the stabbing of two students and a professor during a gender issues class at the University of Waterloo in Canada. The police are calling it a hate-motivated attack.
Waterloo Regional Police say that Aleman Villalba-Geovanny, an international student who had been studying at the University of Waterloo, is facing two counts of possessing a dangerous weapon and four counts of assault with a weapon, as well as three counts of aggravated assault.
The suspect, Mark Crowell, who had been interviewed by the police, said that he wanted to make a “statement” about his gender identity and asked the professor to verify that the class was studying gender.
Approximately 40 students were present in the class at that moment. The hospital received a 38-year-old woman professor, a 20-year-old female student, and a 19-year-old male student, all of whom suffered severe yet non-fatal injuries.
Crowell stated, “The perpetrator initially pretended to be a victim before law enforcement recognized him and apprehended him.” Numerous students attempted to intervene in the assault, including by hurling chairs at the perpetrator, while some individuals escaped from the vicinity.
Crowell stated that officials have observed an increase in hate-driven incidents targeting the LGBTQ+ community.
Crowell expressed, “Particularly in the course of Pride month, this is a distressing pattern that we have observed. At present, I believe we are all aware that there exists a division in society.”
In a statement shared on Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the stabbings as “atrocious” and “reprehensible.”
“It is another reminder that we can never let misogynistic, anti-2SLGBTQI+ rhetoric escalate – because these words have real-life consequences,” Trudeau said.
The violence of hate escalated into changing forever the lives of the two students who were attacked, as well as the lives of the professor and all the students who attended their gender studies class.
The defendant, who has no prior criminal history, appeared in court for a bail hearing on Thursday.
Nick Manning, the Associate Vice President of Communications for Waterloo University, stated that the suspect graduated from the university at the end of the fall term in 2022.
Manning stated that the stabbing took place in Philosophy 202, which, as per the university website, concentrates on “matters relating to gender.”
We will explore the construction of gender through contemporary discussions in the philosophy of history. That is what the course description on the website said.
“Our whole community is genuinely worried that this would occur in this area. It’s a significant surprise,” Manning stated.
Approximately 40 individuals were present, and Yusuf Kaymak, a university student, informed CTV News that he was in the classroom during that period.
Kaymak stated that he outran almost everyone, and then he pulled out a knife. He said “yeah” if he was the professor, and when the teacher asked, the guy basically walked in.
Several students raised concerns about the lengthy delay in receiving an urgent notification regarding the incident.
Brianna Egan, a 23-year-old accounting student, stated that she had a class in the same building where the gender studies lecture was held right before the stabbings occurred on Wednesday. Mara Crassweller, a graduate student, mentioned that it took her approximately three hours to receive an emergency alert after the stabbings.
“(It) was quite frightening to be honest, particularly considering the extended duration it took for the university to respond,” she expressed.
Despite having been tested earlier on Wednesday, James Rush, a vice president of the university, admitted that the alert system “did not activate as promptly as we would have typically anticipated.”
“It was a highly regrettable delay,” Rush stated.
Rush promised to be open and honest about the events that occurred.
Students assembled for a brief period of quiet in the arts quadrangle of the university.
University of Waterloo President Vivek Goel expressed, “They desire us to feel fearful. Fearful to disclose. Fearful to express our authentic beliefs. However, we will not allow them to discourage us from boldly proclaiming our principles of inclusivity and openness.” “Certain individuals aim to intimidate us.”