APTOS (CBS SF) — The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a stabbing on the Cabrillo College campus late Wednesday morning by a man with a history of violence directed at school staff, according to authorities.
A lot of people thought the attack was a Halloween prank, but quickly realized after seeing the blood and hearing the screams that it was no joke.
The incident happened at around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday when the victim, a 19-year-old female Cabrillo College student, was sitting down eating lunch inside the cafeteria. The assailant allegedly attacked her from behind, stabbing her once in the left rear side of her torso with a Bowie knife.
One witness said the knife was approximately 14 inches long.
The woman jumped up to run out of the cafeteria, holding her hand over the wound and trying to stop the bleeding as the attacker chased her.
That was when the cafeteria manager jumped up to confront the suspect. The manager, along with help from other bystanders, wrestled the suspect to the ground and held him until deputies arrived. The knife used in the attack was also recovered.
“It could have been a lot worse. The bravery of those staff members probably saved this girl’s life,” Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sgt Brian Cleveland said.
Bystander David Kamoss was one of those people who stepped in to help.
“The cafeteria manager was there and had his phone. He yelled at the perpetrator, Get down right now! And the guy just dropped,” said Kamoss. “And we both ran up and he knelt on his left wrist, I stood on the right wrist and we just held him to the ground. And I called another gentleman in to pin the legs down.”
Witness Dina Zawadzki said the man was running straight towards her, but was thankful he was stopped.
“It’s such a crazy, random act of horror, I don’t see why he would’ve just stopped with just one, had he not been apprehended,” said Zawadzki.
The sheriff’s office identified the suspect as 40-year-old Steven Wooding, a man who has a history of making threats against Cabrillo College staff.
The school recently got a three-year restraining order against Wooding, school officials said. They said Wooding was arrested 10 years ago for attacking a staff member at the college.
The victim was taken to a trauma center in Santa Clara County where she was undergoing surgery. She is listed in stable condition.
Authorities said that the suspect is being interviewed by investigators to determine the motive behind the attack. Cleveland said that it was unknown if there was a relationship between Wooding and the victim.
School officials did not know why Wooding has had an ongoing issue with Cabrillo College.
Authorities said there was no further threat to students or residents in the surrounding community. The sheriff’s office is continuing to investigate the attack.