A former University of Waterloo student was charged after stabbing a gender studies professor and two students during a Wednesday lecture at the Ontario, Canada, university.
Geovanny Villalba-Aleman, a 2022 fall University of Waterloo graduate, allegedly entered the university’s Hagey Hall and walked into a Philosophy 202 class where he stabbed the three victims with a knife, the Globe and Mail reported.
The suspect is 24 years old and is originally from Quito, Ecuador, the National Post reported.
According to the university’s website, Philosophy 202 is framed around exploring “gender issues.”
Authorities suspect the violent attack to be “hate-motivated.”
“The accused targeted a gender studies class and investigators believe this was a hate-motivated incident related to gender expression and gender identity,” Waterloo police said in a statement on Wednesday.
The victims include a 38-year-old female professor, a 20-year-old female student, and a 19-year-old male student. They were treated at the hospital for serious but not life-threatening injuries. At the time of the attack, 40 students were in the classroom.
Among the students was Yusuf Kaymak, who told CTV News, “I ran out, and after we went outside, there was a kid that was stabbed. He was bleeding [from] his arm. I don’t know what happened to the professor.”
When authorities arrived at the scene, Villalba-Aleman acted like he was among the victims and appeared “to blend in…to hide in plain sight.”
He is being charged with “three counts of aggravated assault; four counts of assault with a weapon; two counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose; and mischief under $5,000,” according to the National Post.
Nick Manning, associate vice president of communications for the University of Waterloo, said the school’s community is in “shock.”
“Our first thoughts, of course, go to the students who are in the class and have turned immediately to making sure in addition to supporting the police inquiry,” Manning said.
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