Woman dies after being stabbed in random attack at Louisiana Tech University; 2 others hospitalized

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

RUSTON, La. (AP) — One of four women stabbed in what officials said was a random attack on a Louisiana college campus has died, the school announced.

Annie Richardson had been in critical condition after Monday's attack and she died of her injuries Tuesday evening, according to a statement from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

“My prayers are with Annie’s husband Peter, the entire Richardson family, and all who called Annie a friend,” university President Les Guice said. “Our Tech family will feel the pain of this incident for some time, but we are fortunate to have such a caring community to rely upon as we grieve together.”

Two other women were hospitalized and a fourth woman who is a retired teacher was cut but declined treatment in what officials say was a random knife attack outside a recreation center on the northern Louisiana campus. Richardson was stabbed as she left an exercise class.

One of the hospitalized victims was in serious condition and the other was recovering and could be released as early as Wednesday, according to an earlier email from the university.

The suspect, Jacoby Johnson, 23, was detained minutes after the attack. He will now face a charge of second-degree murder, the university said, in addition to charges of attempted murder.

Neither the court clerk nor the district attorney's office in Louisiana's Lincoln Parish had information on whether Johnson, a senior at the university, had an attorney who could comment.

Richardson lived in Ruston. She was an artist who worked mainly in mixed-media work, according to her website.

Tech freshman Colin Campbell, of Minden, told KTBS-TV that he heard screams coming from the center, rushed over and saw two women wounded including Richardson, who had been stabbed in the throat.

He put Richardson and Cynthia Woodard, a retired Lincoln Parish judge, into his pickup truck and headed to the hospital but Richardson collapsed in his back seat as he arrived at the hospital, Campbell said.

Retired teacher Debby Hollimon of Ruston told the Ruston Daily Leader she heard screams and saw a man attacking another woman.

“I just ran up screaming, ‘Get off her! Get away from her!’” Hollimon said. “He stands up and looks at me with no expression, just as flat as can be.”

She said the attacker had a short knife in his hand. He grazed Hollimon across the right side of her face with the knife and then walked away.

Authorities identified another victim as graduate student Dominique McKane.

Johnson lived in an off-campus apartment and although he was detained in February for possession of marijuana, authorities weren't aware of anything “that would indicate concerning behavior,” Louisiana Tech Police Chief Randal Hermes said, according to the Daily Leader.

“There was no rhyme or reason" to the attack, he said.

The stabbings shocked students at the university with an enrollment of more than 11,000, and residents of Ruston, a small city in north-central Louisiana with a population of about 22,000.

The university said counseling was being made available to students individually and in group settings. A campus blood drive for the victims was planned for Thursday.