CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (CBS) — A 23-year-old downstate man appears before a judge in Champaign for a bond hearing Thursday, one day after he allegedly stabbed a University of Illinois College of Law faculty member in the neck.
Police issued a statement in which they said they are treating the stabbing as a hate crime. They said that suspect Joshua Scaggs, is white, and the victim is not.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
Scaggs, who lives 20 miles east of Champaign in the small town of Fithian, allegedly jumped to his feet before dawn Wednesday in a waiting area at the Illinois Terminal Building, a one-time train terminal-turned-bus station at 45 E. University St.
Police say Scaggs allegedly shouted, “This is my country,” and attacked the faculty member, who was sitting nearby.
A witness intervened, but police said before he could do so, Scaggs allegedly forced the teacher to the ground, tried to choke him and stabbed him in the neck.
Only when the Good Samaritan pulled Scaggs off of the teacher did he see that Scaggs carried a utility knife, and that the teacher was bleeding.
The teacher underwent surgery for the neck wound at Carle Hospital, in Champaign, where a spokesman declined comment on the teacher’s condition.
Prosecutors charged Scaggs with attempted murder and a hate crime.
Neither the university nor police will identify the faculty member. Sources tell CBS affiliate WCIA-TV that he is of Sri Lankan descent and is a law professor.
University President Michael Hogan Wednesday e-mailed university students, faculty and staff about the incident. In the message, he wrote that the university community is “deeply saddened” by the attack but grateful to the man who intervened.
Hogan wrote that he is hoping for a “complete and speedy recovery.”