Man with knife suspected of stabbing 2 people at training center is fatally shot by police

Feb 14, 2024, 7:43 AM | Updated: 3:54 pm

MANASSAS, Va. (AP) — Responding officers shot and killed a man with a knife suspected of fatally stabbing one person and critically wounding another inside a training center for electrical workers, police said Tuesday.

Prince William County officers were called to the union apprenticeship center in Manassas around 3:30 p.m. for a report of a stabbing and encountered a man near the entrance with a knife, a police statement said.

Officers ordered the man to drop the knife, police said Wednesday in a statement providing additional details. Police say the suspect moved toward the officers, at which point two officers opened fire.

They then learned that the man had stabbed two people inside the center, Police Chief Peter Newsham said in a news conference.

Police said Wednesday that the suspect approached the first victim, pulled a knife from a backpack and stabbed him multiple times. A second victim was stabbed in another classroom.

The stabbing victims were taken to area hospitals, where one man died and another was in critical condition, police said.

Police said they are still trying to determine the motive for the attack. On Wednesday, they identified the victim who died as Elijah Islam Safadi, 23, of Manassas. A 23-year-old man from Fairfax who suffered critical injuries from stab wounds was not identified by police.

The suspect who was shot and killed by police was identified Wednesday as Philip Austin Brant, 26 of Woodbridge.

The scene was “horrific,” Newsham said.

“You got folks that come out here to do some training, and next thing you know, one of them’s lost his life and another one’s struggling for his life in a local hospital,” Newsham said. “I can’t imagine what the families are going through right now.”

He didn’t want to discuss what led to the shooting, but he said officers were responding to an active violent situation and were confronted by the suspect with the knife and had to resort to lethal force. No officers were injured, Newsham said.

The officers who fired shots have five and 1.5 years of experience, respectively, police said. They have been placed on routine paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.

The chief said he watched their body-camera video, and the department will determine whether to release it publicly within 30 days.

The regional critical incident response team will lead the investigation into the shooting, Newsham said.

Officials with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26, with runs the training center jointly with the National Electrical Contractors Association, said in a video posted on social media that the school will remain closed this week.

Local President Thomas Myers did not respond to a phone message seeking comment Wednesday, but he said in the video, “This is a tragic time, and I know you all have questions. But we have no ability to answer those questions right now.”

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Man with knife suspected of stabbing 2 people at training center is fatally shot by police