BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Five female students, including one who’d recently completed a self-defense class, jumped to the aid of a fellow student, grabbing her knife-wielding attacker and holding him until police officers arrived at Husson University, officials said Wednesday.
Jesse Hladik put her new skills to work when she lunged for the hand holding a knife, while fellow students grabbed the man’s other limbs and wrestled him to the ground. Hladik, 21, of Buckfield, said she knew the pressure points to make him drop the knife, thanks to the class.
“It was really scary, but I’m glad we got involved,” said student Heather Mann, 18, of Rochester, N.H. “Because I really think he would have killed her.”
Officers responding to the report of a domestic fight at 7:40 a.m. arrived to find 45-year-old Horst Wolk of Bangor subdued on the pavement. A campus officer cuffed him, and city police hauled him away.
John Michaud, professor of legal studies, heard the commotion and saw a pile of people on the pavement, while more women stood by, ready to jump in, if necessary.
“I was very impressed by the students,” Michaud said. “How many times do you hear about people walking by incidents like this? These young ladies weren’t going to walk by this incident.” He said the young women disarmed the suspect and “had the situation well in hand.”
Wolk has been charged with attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault and violating a protection order, said Bangor Police Sgt. Paul Edwards. He remained jailed Wednesday afternoon on $25,000 bail. There was no indication whether he had an attorney.
The incident unfolded in a parking lot next to Husson’s O’Donnell Commons. Wolk, who isn’t a student, rammed the victim’s vehicle after she pulled into a parking space at 7:40 a.m., then jumped out of his vehicle with a knife in his hand, said Julie Green, Husson spokeswoman.
The injured woman, who was not identified, was treated at a local hospital and released.
Edwards said officers generally don’t want bystanders to put themselves in harm’s way.
“We would never recommend getting involved to the point where you might get hurt yourself and become a second victim. But am I proud of what they did? Of course I am. Am I glad they did it? Yeah. I’m happy because the outcome was good,” Edwards said.
Hladik said she realized the importance of self defense.
“Not that the situation is going to happen again here, but it is so much better to know what I was doing, to make a little plan in a couple of seconds before doing something because I can’t imagine being one of the girls without training and not knowing what to do,” she said.
“I think that is bravery because they had never fought … they had no idea what to do and they still stepped in.”