University of Waterloo stabbing suspect let out ‘disgusting mischievous smile’ before attack: Witness

Students we spoke to at the University of Waterloo are still on edge after three people were stabbed in a classroom. Brandon Rowe reports.

A witness to what police are calling a “hate-motivated” triple stabbing inside a University of Waterloo gender studies class said the suspect eerily smiled before stabbing the class’s professor and two other students.

James Chow told CityNews he was one of roughly 40 students inside the class at the university’s Hagey Hall at around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when the suspect entered and began asking the professor questions.

“He came in and asked the instructor, ‘Oh, is this such and such psychology class? Our teacher then said ‘No, you are probably in the wrong room,’ then the man asked, ‘Oh what class is this then?’

“She then said, ‘Philosophy of gender, gender issues.’ Then the man’s body language and his tone of voice changed,” Chow breathlessly explained.

“He became more assertive and confident.”

“He then said, ‘I think I’ll stay’ and the prof then said, ‘Could you please leave we want to continue our class,’ then he put his backpack at his feet and pulled out a knife … and his face grimaced into a disgusting mischievous smile and he held up the knife.”

“Our prof screamed and started running into the back of the classroom.”

Police say the suspect, identified Thursday as 24-year-old Geovanny Villalba-Alema, ultimately stabbed three people, and tried to stab a fourth who managed to evade injuries.

The class’s 38-year-old female professor, a 20-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man – both students, all suffered non life-threatening stab wounds.

On Thursday, Waterloo Police Chief Mark Crowell said Villalba-Alema has no previous criminal record.

Crowell said officers arrived on scene minutes after receiving several 911 calls about the stabbing, and Villalba-Alema was taken into custody without incident.

Crowell did say that the suspect tried to fool officers by trying to blend in as one of the stunned witnesses of the attack.

It didn’t work.

Villalba-Alema, an international student who has been studying at the university, is now facing 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.

Corwell also credited some students who tried to stop the attack by throwing chairs at the knife-wielding suspect.

Chow said he was one of the students who desperately tried to halt the shocking stabbings.

“I wasn’t sure what to do,” he explained. “I took a chair and threw it at the guy. Then I realized I don’t know any combat, I have no weapons, and I just ran screaming to people ‘get out of the building there’s a man with a knife.’ ”

With files from John Marchesan

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today