PD have 'person of interest' in stabbing of homeless woman on UT drag

- John Elford is Senior Pastor of the University United Methodist Church on Guadalupe.  

UT Police and Austin Police said they responded to the alley near the church around 9 p.m. Monday.  A 41-year-old transient woman was stabbed and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Elford wants to do whatever he can to help the victim.

"Well we've been in contact with her and so it's just minimal at this point we're just trying to make sure she has a safe place to stay and then offering whatever other assistance or direction to other resources that we can find for her and for her family also...she has children," Elford said.  

On Tuesday UT Police told Fox 7 while they were on patrol they saw a man who fit the attacker's description.  Officers detained the man and released him to Austin Police custody.  APD said they are still investigating and haven't arrested him yet.

According to data from UT Police, in 2015 the department got 107 calls regarding the transient population on campus.

157 calls in 2016 and 145 so far this year.

Monday night's stabbing is not considered on campus.   

Michelle Roddy has a son at UT.  

"I tell him to walk with a friend.  Keep one earbud at least out, don’t be on his phone, pay attention at all times," she said.

After the murder of Haruka Weiser, Roddy joined a group called SafeHorns -- they advocate for a safer UT, a safer Drag and West Campus area.

"We have close to 40,000 students that live in West Campus and the University seems to ignore that that's their large population," Roddy said.

As the attacker was still on the run Monday night UT Police tweeted to students to stay vigilant and be aware of their surroundings.  But they also said there was no threat to campus.

"They said there was no reason to be fearful but the assailant was still at large so I don't understand that at all," Roddy said.

We asked Roddy what changes to the West Campus area she would like to see city council make.

"I would be not trying to clean up downtown to the point where all the transients come into West Campus," Roddy said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Kathie Tovo said West Campus safety is high priority.  

"As part of a council resolution our city staff is conducting a lighting study.  They're getting input from students and from business owners and from others in the area about areas of West Campus that could be better lighted and then we'll see where to go from there," Tovo said.

Pastor Elford feels "The Drag" is changing.

"Really what I've seen in the last year is a decline in the homeless population around The Drag.  I think that the UT Police and the APD have worked to...I don't want to say move homeless people to other places but I think people are congregating in other parts of the city right now," he said.

Austin Police couldn't give the press much information on the stabbing today, they couldn't do an interview either.  They said detectives are focused on gathering information in the case.
Again, they haven't arrested the person of interest.  But they are looking at this as an aggravated assault.

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