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Incident in the Library

:: Today in our library, a student was attacked and stabbed in the arm and shoulder by three other individuals, while studying on the second floor. Most of us working in the building weren’t aware anything had happened until afterwards. The student apparently bolted from the library, bleeding profusely. Soon afterwards, Campus Security, the Edmonton Police, and other officials were in the building. Currently, a section of the entrance, and the second floor, are sealed off as a crime scene. The incident made the local news, and a statement was issued by the University. In addition, the students on campus are already discussing it online.

The event and its aftermath left most of us feeling a bit unsettled. In my 25+ years as a librarian, I’ve never experienced anything like this.

Update on 18 March 2004: The Edmonton Journal story has been removed from their website, so here’s an account of what happened from the UA Student newspaper, The Gateway.

14 Responses to “Incident in the Library”

  1. kelly Says:


    err.. or maybe not so hahahaha :-/


  2. randy Says:

    Yah, actually, it wasn’t very funny, Kel. Some of the people working in the building were quite rattled, and the students who were around the fellow who was attacked were numbed by the incident. Most couldn’t believe what had happened, and many of them left the building with blood on their clothes, as the victim (apparently) left immediately, but as you can see from the pic, was bleeding badly. Many of the chairs, tables and carrels on the 2nd floor had blood on them as well.

    A disturbing incident. Most of us on the first floor couldn’t focus on our work for the balance of the day. (But I know you meant well!) R

  3. kelly Says:

    I was just more amazed at the power of the internet in it’s lightning quick speed at getting photos and info about the crime up.

    I did a search online at 2pm and could not find anything about it at that time. When I got home later in the day around 5, the Provost’s message was up and you had the posting. Behold the power of blogs!

  4. Morrie Says:

    Hope the student’s OK, and indeed the staff. Thinking about you all.

  5. Morpheus Says:

    A stabbing in a library. It just defies belief. No one can say the position of librarian is boring any more, not that they ever did, of course.

    Anyone there trained in first aid? Anyone now considering it?

    Good work on the photos – are you releasing them to the police?

  6. randy Says:

    The police and campus security have my contact info if they want the photos. Some staff are trained in first aid, but the injured student left the building before anyone knew what was happening.

  7. Garth Danielson Says:

    As Dave Chapelle would say, “Welcome to the new big-ass violent world, bitch. Here’s your gun, good luck to ya.” Of course I am a sarcastic bastard who lives in the USA and we all used to that here. Matter o’fact I am surprized that it doesn’t happen more often. Constant repetition of violence in movies and tv and music and my neighbors house gets me all hot and murderin’ like. Course I have a superior brain and I know I can’t shoot or stab people where someone might see it. Unfortunately it seems that even college students are stupid enough to do their violence in the library. I bet “Reading is fundemental” never occured to them. I hate these lack of education enjoying mothers. Any misspellings on my part don’t refect my education but my own lazyness to go look some shit up. You should get a spell checker module for this.

    I read the posting by the students. I like the cat with the gun. I can’t deceide if that is a political statement or a call for help. I wonder how good a cats eyesight is from the fifth floor of the book depository.

    Perhaps if you ever move to New York you can enjoy a firefight on the subway some time in the future. My co-worker here in Minneapolis lives in one of the worst parts of Minneapolis and they had so many shootings and killings a couple of weeks ago that the Mayor and the Chief of Police came down to try to talk everyone to killing people over in St Paul, since it’s been so much quieter there of late.

  8. randy Says:

    Garth, thanks for the comment. It hasn’t been determined if the three assailants were students. One other student commented in another blog that a friend of hers noticed these three guys “plotting” on the same floor, before the attack happened. Weird and wacky, and not something expected in an institution of higher learning. Then again, incidents like these are not restricted to any one segment of society, are they?

  9. kelly Says:

    It’s funny because I said the same thing to some friends of mine, that “I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often” since our campus is well over 30,000 strong now. We’ve had random events, like rape attacks, another slashing (maybe a shooting?) during the first week of school in 1998, an engineer trying to take a lecture hall hostage two years ago… anyhow, my friends were a bit shocked that I said what I did, but it’s true. There are thousands of ‘smart’ students on campus, but just as many are tangled up in gangs or drugs or criminal acts, and I really am surprised there aren’t more gang blowouts.

  10. Garth Danielson Says:

    Well, I tell you if there is one thing I learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you just aren’t safe anywhere, even if you don’t live over a hellmouth. Since campus’s aren’t that restricted anyone could just wander in and wreck havoc. The Univ. of Minnesota campus here had a riot last year, where cars were burnt and store windows were bust up. Actualy it wasn’t on the campus but across the street, after a sports victory. Back then DreamHaven had a store in Dinkytown and their garbage dumpster was burnt, luckily the building didn’t catch fire. Want to learn more…

    There was a smaller one on a U of M campus in Mankato, which is south of here.

    I was just thinking that those guys, who indeed might not be students, weren’t thinking that reading is fundemental but that stabbing is fun and mental.

    There is a long way to go to get past this kind of thinking and I surely have no answers, I can barely conceptulize all the problems that got us here in the first place. I just know I rarely want anything stuck into me.

  11. kelly Says:

    One of my best male friends went to the U of M and I have spent many a day wandering in Dinkytown and on campus, exploring it. It felt no different (if slightly bigger and prettier and more collegiate) than the U of A campus.

    I think that these sorts of things are just built out of circumstance and the fact that when you get that many people together, the only thing that is predictable is that there will be unpredictability.

  12. Doug Morton Says:

    What I find interesting, and maybe missed it in the various reports, is how did the victim get out of thet library? Is there no-one near the exits at the library who could have stopped him & called for an ambulance / campus cops / provided a bit of first aid?

  13. randy Says:

    Doug: No one is near our exits, they are “open”, i.e., they do not have turnstile mechanisms – you just walk through. There are detectors which flash and make a noise if you try to leave with an item that wasn’t checked out. Apparently the student got up immediately, and began walking out quickly. I followed the trail of blood, it led from the attack area, across the second floor to the stairwell, down the stairs to the library entrance, and out into the next building.

  14. kelly Says:

    We were further discussing in class today “Why didn’t anyone stop the 3 guys who attacked the other guy?”

    It’s all a bit odd. I guess it comes down to the fact that you really don’t think things like this would happen in a library and when they do, everything moves in slow motion.

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