A University of Texas student who was fatally stabbed on campus Monday asked to speak with his mother before he died.
In an interview with Austin, Texas-area television station KXAN, Lori Brown, the mother of Harrison Brown, said she received a phone call from her son’s number during the afternoon. But her son wasn’t on the end of the line — it was female freshman student alerting her to the attack.
“And she said, ‘Are you Harrison’s mom?’ and you could tell there was something bad going on at the other end,” Lori Brown told KXAN.
The young woman didn’t know the victim.
“She was coming out of the door — he was holding his hand over his chest and there was blood coming out of his chest. He had held the phone out and said, ‘Call my mom,'” Lori Brown said.
But Brown never got a chance to say a final goodbye to her son, whom she had spoken with minutes before the fatal stabbing. The two had been conversing about his day, she said.
“He was filling me in on what he was doing, he said he had just played basketball, he always called me ‘mama,’” Brown told the station. “He was gonna get something to eat at a food truck.”
Harrison Brown, a freshman at the university, was one of four people stabbed by the suspect — Kendrex J. White — who “calmly walked around” campus with a “bowie-style” hunting knife and randomly stabbed other students, police and witnesses said.
The three others were injured in the attack.
White was booked on suspicion of murder and will face additional counts, according to authorities.
UT Austin Police Chief David Carter said Tuesday that the suspect may have been “suffering from mental health issues,” and recently had been involuntarily committed and later released in another city.
According to university president Gregory L. Fenves, Harrison Brown had hoped to have a career in music.
“His family and our community will never be able to hear Harrison play and sing again and, for this, our hearts are breaking and we are deeply, deeply saddened,” Fenves said.
Fenves met with the victim’s family on Tuesday.
“It was an incredibly difficult time for them — unimaginable,” he said. “Mrs. Brown talked about her son Harrison and how much he loved being a Longhorn in his first year here.”
Two hours after the attack, classes and events were canceled for the rest of the day but activities resumed on campus Tuesday amid what Fenves described as “a great deal of fear on campus and in our community.”
“We are in mourning and we are hurting as a university community,” Fenves said.
Following her son’s killing, Lori Brown traveled to Austin with Harrison’s brother, John.
After arriving, a grief counselor contacted Brown and put her in touch with the student who had called.
“She knew I wanted to meet with her… This young lady — she was a freshman also — she came to see me at my hotel room and it meant the world to me. It was so comforting that she was able to do that for me,” Brown said.
“What I think about constantly is the fact that I know my son — my sweet son Harrison — he would forgive this perpetrator and has already forgiven him,” she said. “That’s the kind of person he was and the kind of heart he had. It gives me comfort knowing that.”
Brown described her son as “strong in his faith,” and said he loved his family and was proud to be a Longhorn.
A memorial is scheduled to be held in his hometown of Graham, Texas, at the Graham High School gym for 1 p.m. Saturday.