At a news conference Monday afternoon, University of Texas Police Chief David Carter identified the suspect in custody as Kendrex J. White, who he said also appears to be a student at the university.
“It was described to us that the individual calmly walked around the plaza … and basically attacked these four unfortunate students,” Carter said.
White was being interrogated, said Carter, who added, “It’ll probably be a while before we actually charge him.”
“There are no words to describe my sense of loss,” Greg Fenves, the UT president, said in a message to the community. “Campus safety is our highest priority and we will investigate this tragic incident to the greatest extent possible.”
Fenves told reporters Monday that authorities did not think there was an ongoing threat to the campus, though the investigation remained ongoing.
“We ask that all our students call home,” he said. “Call your parents, to let them know that you are safe. We ask our faculty and staff to help each other, to reach out to family members, also.
“At this time of this awful tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and the families of this incredibly senseless attack, which attacks the entire UT campus and UT family.”
About 1:49 p.m., Carter said, UTPD got a call about an individual who “actually attacked or assaulted somebody” near a gym. In less than two minutes, an officer was on the scene.
“The officer observed the individual walking away from an individual who was down on the ground,” Carter said. “He was armed with a large, Bowie-style hunting knife.”
The officer confronted the man, Carter said, drawing his weapon and ordering the man to the ground. Then the suspect was taken into custody.
“The officer discovered that unfortunately, in addition to that single individual who had been stabbed, within about a block, there were three additional victims, all male, all determined to be students, who were also stabbed,” Carter said.
Of the four victims, one died and the other three were getting medical treatment at a hospital, Carter said.
“At this particular time, we do not know,” Carter said, when asked whether there was any suggestion the victims were related in some way, or whether there was a motive for why they were chosen. “We have upward of 25 witnesses, so this investigation is going to take a little while.”
A spokesman for the university did not immediately respond to messages Monday afternoon.
On social media, police and university leaders sent alerts to the campus community:
The attack came three days after police said a former student wielding a machete and other blades attacked students at Transylvania University in Kentucky. One student was hospitalized in that attack.
The student newspaper at the University of Texas, the Daily Texan, posted photos from the scene on social media:
The top-ranked university, the state flagship school, has more than 51,000 students enrolled.
On Monday evening, police and university officials reassured the public:
This post has been updated.