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Police: Still no motive in Tech knife attack

One victim has died, two more in hospital care
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Police: Still no motive in Tech knife attack

Leader photos by Caleb Daniel The Pafford Air One helicopter lands just outside Joe Aillet Stadium Monday morning while first responders help in the transport of one of the victims from the knife attack at Louisiana Tech’s Lambright Sports & Wellness Center.

Police: Still no motive in Tech knife attack

Law enforcement process the scene of the stabbing attack near the Lambright Center, where 23-year-old Jacoby Johnson is accused of stabbing four women.

Update: Story edited to include information on the death of one of the victims, which took place after press time Tuesday

Police say they still have no motive in Monday morning’s stabbing incident that left four women injured outside Louisiana Tech University’s Lambright Sports and Wellness Center.

Jacoby Johnson, 23, of Rayville, was originally charged with four counts of attempted second-degree murder in connection with the incident that occurred around 9 a.m. One of those charges was upgraded to second-degree murder late Tuesday evening.

Investigators have determined Johnson was inside the Lambright prior to the attacks and had brandished a knife at a student playing basketball, Tech Police Chief Randal Hermes said. Then Johnson went outside.

Retired 3rd District Judge Cynthia Woodard and local artist Annie Richardson were leaving a senior exercise class when Johnson reportedly attacked from behind as they walked down a sidewalk, authorities said.

Late Tuesday evening Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker confirmed that Richardson died in a Shreveport hospital. As of Tuesday afternoon, Woodard was in critical but stable condition.

Tech graduate student Dominique McKane was reportedly getting ready to teach a subsequent senior exercise class when she was attacked in the parking lot. Retired teacher Debby Hollimon was cut on the face as she tried to help McKane. Hollimon didn’t require treatment.

Around noon Tuesday, McKane’s husband posted on social media that she hoped to be released that day.

Authorities continue to say Monday’s attack was a random act of violence and that Johnson had not been on anybody’s radar screen for problematic behavior.

“There was no rhyme or reason (to the attacks)," Louisiana Tech Police Chief Randal Hermes said.

Hermes said campus police had no previous encounters with Johnson. He was detained in February for possession of marijuana, but “nothing that would indicate concerning behavior.”

Johnson lived in an off-campus apartment. Police searched the apartment but found nothing to give them any clues about the attack, Hermes said.

Meantime, 3rd Judicial District Attorney John Belton said he will seek a grand jury indictment against Johnson.

Belton said he expects to receive the incident report from Tech police within several weeks.

“We’ll take it to the grand jury immediately,” he said.