VICTIM ZONE: Four stabbed at downtown Columbus office building
by Chad D. Baus
The stabbing of four people in a downtown Columbus office building, and subsequent shooting of the knife-wielding assailant by police, has made national news headlines over the past two days. Glaringly absent from news coverage, however, is any mention of the fact that the building is a "no-guns" zone, thanks to Ohio laws which prohibit concealed carry in government buildings (the building houses offices for the state attorney general) and college campuses (the building houses Miami-Jacobs Career College).
From the Associated Press:
John W. Mallett was armed with three knives when he entered a downtown office building that housed a career college and other offices Wednesday afternoon and stabbed four men, the first an employee of Miami-Jacobs Career College, police said. Other people intervened and took away a knife the man was using but didn't realize he had others, police said.
Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner said the attack appeared to be random. The 37-year-old Mallett has no criminal record in Columbus.
An aunt in Columbus reported to police that she thought the suspect was Mallett, Weiner said. She told police he was mentally ill and had been off his medications.
"We have no link as to why he went there," Weiner said.
Mallett lived in Nashville for 10 years until a month ago when he came to Columbis, police said.
Two of the victims worked for the college, one was a student and another worked for the attorney general’s office, Weiner said.
Student John M. Desir was in stable condition Thursday, while school employee Donte Dunnagan was in critical condition.
Weiner said attorney Jeff Maloon was also in critical condition, though a message sent to employees at the attorney general’s office said Maloon was alert and talking to his family.
Gerald Dowe Jr., also an employee at the school, was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital. Weiner said Dowe returned to the building to help officers with their investigation.
A knife was recovered inside the school, and two knives were found near the attacker outside after he had been shot. Police wouldn't describe the knives except to say they were bigger than pocket knives.
One officer used a stun gun on the attacker at around the time another officer shot him, Weiner said.
The attacker had a knife in each hand when he went at officers, said Jim Gilbert, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police.
Multiple shots were fired at the man by the officer who was closest to him, Gilbert said. The officer, who has been on the police force for 15 years, “did what she had to do,” Gilbert said.
Once again, it took a good guy (or in this case, good gal) with a gun to stop a violent attack. Unfortunately for the victims in this attack, the nearest "good guy with a gun" was minutes away in a police cruiser. And that's the trouble with "no-guns" policies. They serve only to increase the time delay before a good guy with a gun can get on scene and stop an attack.
It is time to restore Ohioans' constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense in all public places, and eliminate the victim zones.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.