An employee at a construction materials distributor in Florida reportedly called his pastor asking for forgiveness before he went on a rampage, stabbing six people on the morning of the 18th anniversary of 9/11.
Prior to the stabbing spree, 41-year-old Antwann Demetris Brown, reportedly received notice that he may get terminated from his job and confronted his employers at Dyke Industries, a commercial building supply company in an industrial park in Florida city.
Brown got into a verbal dispute with his supervisors and was asked to leave the building. He left the premises and reportedly called a pastor.
The pastor said Brown called asking for forgiveness and prayer for what he was about to do, prompting the pastor to contact law enforcement to warn Brown likely intended to commit harm to others.
Brown returned to the building, retaliating while wielding a knife and injuring multiple people, according to authorities.
Interim Tallahassee Police Chief Steve Outlaw said employees armed themselves “with whatever they could” in an attempt to keep the suspect at a distance until police arrived to the scene.
Brown successfully fled the building after the stabbing spree, but was apprehended by responding officers and taken into custody.
Officers who apprehended Brown were in attendance of the city’s 9/11 commemoration service prior to responding to the attack.
“You can’t help but wonder” whether the stabbing was related to the anniversary of the terror attacks, despite there being no apparent connection, Outlaw told CBS.
“We don’t know what he was doing in those 13 minutes between when he clocked out and when he engaged his victims,” he said. “There is nothing to indicate that he was giving an indication of his plan or motives or anything else. Now as far as we know it was spontaneous.”
According to witnesses, a victim approached Brown asking him if he was part of management and Brown immediately stabbed him, CBS News reports.
Five victims are being treated at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. A hospital spokesperson told CBS affiliate WCTV reports one victim is in serious condition, two are in fair condition and two are in good condition.
Marquitta Campbell told the Tallahassee Democrat she was on the phone with her husband, Bobby Riggins Jr., who was in the building for a job interview around 8:30 a.m., when she heard hell break loose.
“The next thing I know, he said, ‘Baby, I’ve been stabbed five times,'” Campbell said. “‘I’ve been stabbed.'”
Her husband later called her from the hospital notifying her he had internal bleeding and would have to undergo surgery.
According to court records released Wednesday night, Brown is charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated assault after stabbing five coworkers with a common pocket knife.
Brown has a long rap sheet, according to court records. His arrests and convictions on drug and other charges date back to the mid-1990s.
“In 1999, he was sentenced to five years in prison for dealing drugs near a school, selling counterfeit drugs and grand theft, according to the Florida Department of Corrections,” the Tallahassee Democrat reports. “In 2006, he was sentenced to four years for selling marijuana, and in 2007, he got an additional 14 months for possession of marijuana. He was released from prison in 2009.”
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