By Joe Johnson
An Athens-Clarke County police report made public on Tuesday describes a chaotic and bloody scene where two recent University of Georgia students were seriously injured Sunday night when attacked by a knife-wielding man.
Sgt. Stewart Heard wrote in the report that he was in his parked patrol car at The Varsity on West Broad Street at about 9 p.m. when he heard a loud scream and banging noises coming a Golden Pantry across the street.
“I observed what appeared to be persons running and screaming in the parking lot and front entrance area,” Heard wrote.
The officer immediately activated his car’s emergency lights and drove to the convenience store, where he heard someone scream, ‘He has a gun,’” according to the report.
When Heard saw 39-year-old Eric Keith Mitchell leaving the store while holding a silver object, the officer drew his sidearm and ordered the man to the ground, according to the report.
Police said the silver object was a razor knife.
After other officers arrived and placed Mitchell in handcuffs, Heard noted in his report that he went inside Golden Pantry and saw two young women who had what appeared to be serious injuries, with “copious amounts of blood on the floor.
One of the women, 22-year-old Caroline Bradley had a laceration to her stomach area, the report noted, and the other victim, 21-year-old Libby Stark had severe swelling and bleeding coming from her facial area.
“Due to the nature of injuries and officers providing first aid could not determine further injuries,” the police sergeant wrote in the report.
A police news release issued on Sunday indicated that both victims were severely injured and were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Police did not know Mitchell’s motive for attacking the two women as they were leaving the store.
However, in the weekend news release, police said that “Mitchell cited stress from COVID-19 concerns as the precipitating factor for the unprovoked attacks.”
The Lee Street resident was charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and aggravated battery and was transported to the Clarke County Jail, where he was being held without bail as of Tuesday morning.
Both victims attended UGA's Terry College of Business, graduating this year, according to their LinkedIn pages.
Anyone who may have witnessed the attack or has information regarding the incident is asked to contact Detective Scott Black at (762) 400-7058.