College became his 'second home' at 12; now he's suspect in campus stabbings

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by Chris Patterson

(CNN) -- For better or worse, Dylan Quick transformed his life on the campus of Lone Star College.

Born deaf, he overcame intense shyness with a cochlear implant and learned to express himself by joining a teen book club at age 12 at the college library, according to a profile of him on a student blog. The library club became like a "family" and "second home" for him, the profile said.

But he harbored a dark secret that played out eight years later after he enrolled as a student at the community college, authorities allege.

Quick, 20, is accused of a carrying out a bloody stabbing rampage at Lone Star College's CyFair campus near Houston, and on Wednesday, he was "interacting well with investigators," Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia told reporters Wednesday.

Forthcoming with information, Quick told police he had fantasies of stabbing people since he was 8 years old and that he had been planning Tuesday's spree "for some time," Garcia said. The rampage resulted in injuries to 14 people.

The weapon used in Tuesday's stabbings is best described as a "razor utility knife," Garcia said.

The crimes occurred on two floors at the school's health science center, Garcia said. It's unclear how many of the injured were stabbed and how many suffered other injuries.

The campus shut down Tuesday, but reopened Wednesday.

Authorities and the blog portrayed Quick as someone who triumphed over deafness -- with the help of the college's teen book club -- and had big plans for the future.

Those plans now seem upended. Quick was undergoing a psychological evaluation Wednesday, and his first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday in Houston, the Harris County District Attorney's Office said.

Overcoming obstacles

Quick received the cochlear implant at age 7, CNN affiliate KPRC reported. An article on how he overcame challenges early in life appeared on the Lone Star student blog the first week of April.

The implant gave him the ability to hear, but he had to play catch-up to learn how to speak English. His mother homeschooled him and got him involved in Lone Star's library programs when he was a teen, according to KPRC.

Quick became a voracious reader and developed a close connection with the school northwest of Houston, the affiliate said.

The teen book club on campus encourages youths to enroll in the community college after high school graduation, and Quick did.

Some faculty members said Quick was a good student there, Lone Star College-CyFair President Audre Levy told reporters Wednesday.

Also, staff members at the county library branch on campus, where Quick worked part-time for about a year, "had fond things to say of him," Levy said.

"So many are surprised that he was" the suspect, she said.

Quick was planning to finish his associate's degree there and transfer to the University of Houston to study accounting.

But Quick had also been harboring his darker dream, police said.

Authorities: The rampage was premeditated

"According to the statement the suspect voluntarily gave investigators, he has had fantasies of stabbing people to death since he was in elementary school," a statement from the Harris County Sheriff's Office said.

Quick has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, said Donna Hawkins of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

On Wednesday, two victims who had been in critical condition were upgraded to good condition, said Kathryn Klein, spokeswoman for Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute. Five victims remained at the hospital and were doing well, Klein told CNN.

Witnesses to the stabbings described a chaotic scene. Bleeding victims collapsed to the ground. Students and teachers ran for cover. Some sprang into action, chasing after the assailant and helping the wounded.

Cassie Foe was in the school's nursing lab when she heard a scream coming from the hallway.

Moments later, the nursing student put her training into action, placing pressure on a wound in a stabbing victim's neck.

"It just seemed like he was just going around, basically getting whoever was more open and easiest for him to reach," Foe told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.

Steven Maida said he saw so many people swarming that he thought it was a campus tour. Then, he saw them running and heard someone say, "My friend's been stabbed."

Maida said he saw blood on a stairway and several injured victims.

"I just took off downstairs running," he said. He was looking for the attacker.

Maida described joining a group of students who chased the suspect, tackled him and pinned him down until authorities arrived.

"I couldn't run the other way like everyone else was," he said.

A bloody spree

Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Gilliland said authorities received an initial report that the suspect had been wrestled to the ground by a student before campus police arrested him.

At least one injured victim had what appeared to be the blade of a box cutter or an X-Acto knife sticking out of her cheek, student Melody Vinton told CNN affiliate KHOU.

Vinton said she had just left her chemistry class when she saw the attacker stabbing people, aiming at their necks and faces.

Soon, she was trying to help victims, ripping a paper towel dispenser off a bathroom wall to get enough paper to help stem the bleeding.

"I turned around, and there was just blood. Just blood dripping down the stairs, all over the floor, all over everyone's towels on their necks. Just a lot of blood," she told KHOU.

The school was on lockdown Tuesday afternoon while authorities combed the campus to ensure no other injured people or attackers were there, Harris County sheriff's spokesman Alan Bernstein said.

While authorities investigated, teachers and students remained in locked rooms, said Marianna Sviland, a teacher who was in a faculty workroom at the time of the stabbing.

"Outside the window, I saw cops running around. I saw students running, and I realized something was going on," she said. "It was scary."

Four injured victims "were taken out on helicopters," Bernstein said.

Tuesday's incident came more than two months after three people were wounded in a shooting at a different Lone Star College campus -- the North Harris campus in Houston.

CNN's Ed Lavandera, Joe Sutton, Jason Morris, Dave Alsup, Chandler Friedman, Greg Botelho, Paul Caron, Chuck Johnston, Ashley Fantz and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.