While many college campuses have struggled with safety issues in recent years, violent crime has rarely touched Louisiana Tech University in the past 45 years.
Through the use of eyes and ears across the campus and other strategies, Tech Police have been able to prevent crime and respond quickly to incidents as they happen, often apprehending the suspect before he leaves campus.
After four women were violently attacked with a knife Monday morning, Tech Police arrested the suspect in a matter of minutes, according to Louisiana Tech Assistant Police Chief Bill Davis. The victims have been identified as Louisiana Tech graduate student Dominique Moses McKane, former district judge Cynthia Woodard, Debby Hollimon and Annie Richardson.
“Initially, the call was made to 911 and the information rerouted to us,” Davis said. “We did not have a suspect description or direction of travel until an officer arrived at the scene and began gathering information.”
A description was broadcast quickly and other responding Tech officers spotted the suspect between the Sutton and Kidd apartment buildings behind the baseball stadium, just over a block away from the Lambright Intramural Center where the attack occurred.
Davis said Jacoby Johnson, 23, was taken into custody without resistance. A folding pocket knife was recovered at the time of the arrest. Johnson had suffered a cut to the hand which apparently occurred during the attack and was treated at the North Louisiana Medical Center emergency room before he was booked.
Initially, one victim was airlifted from the Tech football practice field by Pafford EMS and taken to a Shreveport hospital. Two other victims were transported to North Louisiana Medical Center by a passing student, an act Davis is convinced saved their lives. Another victim suffered a minor injury to the face and refused treatment.
Davis said the two victims taken to the hospital were later sent to Shreveport. One was airlifted and the other was taken by ground ambulance.
Davis said the incident began inside the Lambright Center when Johnson allegedly confronted a male Tech student. The student fled out the east door of the intramural center with Johnson apparently in pursuit. Once outside, however, Johnson allegedly came upon women leaving an exercise class and attacked them. He then left on foot and was stopped by Tech officers just minutes later.
Davis said Johnson, a Tech student, had not been on the school’s radar regarding any issues.
Staff from the Ruston Police Department and Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department responded and Davis praised their behind-the-scene investigative work throughout Monday’s probe.
Davis said Tech Police received a number of calls from worried parents who were unable to reach their students after hearing of the attack.
After questioning by police, Johnson was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Monday afternoon for four counts of attempted second-degree murder. Bail has not been set.
Davis said in his 40 years in Lincoln Parish law enforcement, the last 15 at Louisiana Tech, the campus has never experienced such a violent and horrific attack. The most prevalent offense police have dealt with recently are thefts from parked cars.
Crime statistics submitted to the FBI and made available to the public by every college in university in America indicate Louisiana Tech has a very safe campus—one of the safest in Louisiana. Tech’s statistics can be found on its website.
In addition to certified police officers, Tech protects the Ruston campus using student patrols of the campus and student housing, cart escorts of students after dark, safety orientations for incoming students, hundreds of surveillance cameras, fixed emergency phones throughout the grounds, and other technology.