Eastern College machete attack sends 3 to hospital

Three people were sent to hospital and one man is in custody following a knife attack at Eastern College in Fredericton on Monday morning.

2 teachers and one student suffered injuries ranging from minor to serious, police say

Students heard screams and cries for help 2:09

Three people were sent to hospital and one man is in custody following a knife attack at Eastern College in Fredericton on Monday morning.

Three people were sent to hospital in Fredericton with injuries ranging from minor to serious after an incident at Eastern College on Monday morning. (CBC)
The victims — two teachers and one student — were injured by a large, long-bladed machete-style knife, say police.

None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening, police said.

"The intervention by another student to subdue the suspect certainly played a critical role to ensure that a bad situation was not made a lot worse," Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch said in a statement.

"This was an isolated incident, and we do not believe there to be any additional threat to the community," she said.

​Police say they received a call about a disturbance at the private career college on Prospect Street at about 8:25 a.m.

'There was blood everywhere'

IT student and former soldier Peter MacLean  was one of the people who helped subdue the suspect.

He said his class heard yelling and screaming coming from upstairs at about 8:15 a.m. 

"We assumed, one of the instructors assumed, it was role playing, that's what he mentioned, so we just ignored it for another five seconds," said MacLean.

"But it continued and then we heard someone coming onto our floor, the second floor, screaming and asking for help and that [someone] had a knife."

MacLean, who knows First Aid from spending about 20 years in the military, rushed upstairs with his instructor to see if they could help.

He seemed confused and he was kind of talking nonsense.- Peter MacLean, student

They found three people struggling on the floor and a large knife, "not a full-sized machete, but probably eight or nine inches," he said.

"There was blood everywhere. The hallway was covered in blood."

MacLean quickly realized the two male students who were holding down a fellow male student were injured, so he relieved them and continued to hold the man until police arrived.

"He asked me why I was fighting him, or why I was holding him. He seemed confused about that," said MacLean. "So I explained to him that some people were hurt and he was hurt and help was coming to help him."

"He didn't say much else other than, he said the knife was for camping. He seemed confused and he was talking kind of nonsense."

An unidentified lady took the knife away, said MacLean.

"It really wasn’t a lot for me to contain the situation. Everybody else had already done all the difficult work," he said, adding how impressed he was with how well they handled the situation.

"Especially the two fellas who were struggling with him at the first. They never let up — and they were hurt."

'Somebody help us'

Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch credits the intervention by another student for the incident not being any worse. (Roy Gjelstad/CBC)
​Other students at the scene said screams from a female and cries for help from a male came from the room where the corrections course is taught.

"We heard girls screaming, we assumed [it] was students," said Shanita Fox-Pelletier, a first-year pharmacy technology student.

"Then we heard a man yell, `Help us please, help us. Somebody help us."

The instructor in the pharmacy technology course initially told students that the yelling was probably an exercise being carried out in the corrections room, but then locked the door.

"It was scary, yeah," said pharmacy technology student Courtney Watson. "It was really scary.

"They were screaming and asking for help and we were like, 'That's not a drill.' So we just kind of hid in the classroom."

The college cancelled classes for the day after the incident.

A number of primary response team officers and major crime detectives are working on the file, said Chief Fitch.

"We will work with Eastern College administration to make sure that those involved in this incident get the support services that they need," she said.