The suspect arrested in a mass stabbing at a construction supply plant in Tallahassee allegedly went on the rampage after learning management was considering firing him, police say.
Antwann Demetrius Brown, 41, is facing five counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for Wednesday’s attack at Dyke Industries.
Investigators are still working to pin down exactly what triggered the attack but have said Brown, who had worked at the company for about three months, learned management was considering terminating his employment and confronted them about it that morning.
Brown was apparently ordered to leave the premises at 8.20am before returning minutes later and ‘spontaneously’ stabbing five people with a pocket knife, seriously wounding one of them.
Interim Tallahassee Police Chief Steven Outlaw said ‘it appeared that [Brown] actually sought out certain victims’.
Antwann Demetrius Brown, 41, is suspected of stabbing five coworkers at Dyke Industries in Tallahassee, Florida, on Wednesday. Investigators say Brown (left in a mugshot after his latest arrest and right in an undated mugshot) appeared to have gone on the stabbing rampage after learning that management at the construction supply company was considering firing him
Detectives have not yet determined a motive behind the attack. Interim Tallahassee Police Chief Steven Outlaw (above) said ‘it appeared that [Brown] actually sought out certain victims’
Tallahassee police responded to reports of the stabbing at just after 8.30am Wednesday. Brown reportedly clocked in on time for his 8am shift and minutes later ‘was engaged in some kind of dispute’ before clocking out at 8.20am. Investigators are pictured at the scene
Outlaw said Brown clocked in on time for his 8am shift and minutes later ‘was engaged in some kind of dispute’ before clocking out at 8.20am.
The interim chief said he could not elaborate on what the dispute was about.
Brown then walked across the street from Dyke Industries and called his church pastor begging for forgiveness and to pray for him, according to a police report.
After talking with his pastor, who police said did not report the conversation to authorities, Brown returned to the industrial park and allegedly stabbed a man who was walking inside for a job interview.
Police said he stabbed four coworkers and assaulted a fifth inside the business.
Other employees fended Brown off with sticks and whatever other items they could grab, Outlaw said.
He said ‘heroic’ coworkers pinned the suspect down but he escaped and fled toward the parking lot of a neighboring Coca-Cola plant.
At 8.33am, someone called police and reported that ‘Antwann’ was ‘stabbing everyone’.
Officers responded to the scene within four minutes and quickly arrested Brown.
Five victims were transported to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. One victim was in serious condition, two were in fair condition and another two were in good condition, according to hospital spokeswoman Danielle Buchanan.
Police say Brown ‘spontaneously’ stabbed five employees with a pocket knife, seriously wounding one of them before fleeing on foot. The suspect was arrested at a nearby business
Employees are seen outside the Dyke Industries plant after the stabbing incident
Investigators have not publicly identified the victims but said they spoke to each one in the hospital.
The man who was stabbed outside the business, identified by his wife as Bobby Riggins Jr, told police Brown asked him if he was management before suddenly stabbing him.
Marquitta Campbell told the Tallahassee Democrat she was talking to her husband on the phone when he arrived at Dyke Industries for a job interview at 8.30am.
She said she heard a commotion before Riggins Jr told her he had been stabbed.
‘The next thing I know, he said: “Baby. I’ve been stabbed five times. I’ve been stabbed”,’ Campbell said.
Another victim told police he confronted Brown after learning of the attack and told the suspect to leave.
A third victim said he was in his office near the attack and went out to help an injured person before Brown stabbed him.
According to a police affidavit, a fourth victim was in the building’s warehouse area when he heard the altercation and saw Brown on top of a coworker.
That victim said he shoved Brown off the person, prompting the suspect to stab him.
A fifth victim said he saw another victim hit Brown with a piece of molding and was trying to intervene when he was stabbed himself.
The person who called 911 said they were hiding when Brown approached them with the knife in his hand. The caller pleaded with Brown and he responded by saying: ‘I’m going to spare you this time,’ before walking away.
Several law enforcement agencies came in to investigate how the mass stabbing unfolded
Brown was apprehended between 10 and 15 minutes after the first stabbing about a block away from Dyke Industries.
During their interrogation, investigators noticed blood stains on Brown’s Florida Gators shirt and blood under his fingernails.
Outlaw praised employees who fought Brown off and delayed his escape.
He said the suspect had no pending employment issues at his job and only sought out specific victims.
‘From what we know now, he appeared that he actually sought out certain victims as they were not on a certain line as he was making his way through the workplace,’ Outlaw said.
Police have not determined an official motive and don’t believe it was related to the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
According to court records, Brown has a lengthy rap sheet dating back to when he was a teenager.
His record includes multiple arrests for drug offenses, as well as for resisting arrest without violence, trespassing, grand theft and domestic battery.
Florida Department of Corrections records indicate Brown served two prison sentences, one for dealing drugs at a daycare and grand theft auto from 1999 to 2003 and another for drug dealing and marijuana possession from 2006 to 2009.
Dyke Industries has 15 locations in eight states. The company is described on its website as ‘the largest online retailer of wood, steel and fiberglass exterior, interior, storm and patio doors and door products in the US’. The Tallahassee location is pictured above
Dyke Industries manufactures residential and commercial building materials at 15 locations in eight states and bills itself as ‘the largest online retailer of wood, steel and fiberglass exterior, interior, storm and patio doors and door products in the US’, according to its website.
Initial reports incorrectly stated that the stabbing took place at the Coca-Cola plant.
A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola UNITED said 150 employees work at the Tallahassee bottling site next to the Dyke distribution center, but that none of them were involved in the incident.
‘We are very grateful that all of our associates are safe,’ Linda Sewell said. ‘Our hearts break for those who are impacted by this tragedy.’