Dad: Man had housing stress before Ohio stabbings

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 16, 2012 15:31 hrs

The father of a man accused of stabbing four in an Ohio office building said his son is schizophrenic and might have been stressed after his aunt told him to move out

One of three knives John W. Mallett had during the Wednesday attacks came from the kitchen in the aunt's Columbus home, father Ronald Mallett, of New York City, told The Columbus Dispatch. Police said the attacks appear random.

"I'm really, really sorry about the people he hurt," Ronald Mallett said.

The father said John Mallett's aunt asked him to move because he had been causing problems, and he thinks Mallett might have been searching for a housing agency when he went to downtown Columbus, where the attacks occurred.

He said the family had for years tried to get his son help, but they were turned away by the courts and mental health system.

"So you're going to wait until four people get stabbed, and now what? I mean, it's too late now," he said.

The younger Mallett, 37, was charged Thursday with four counts of felonious assault. Authorities said he stabbed the men in a building that houses a college and other offices before running outside and being shot on the street by a police officer.

Police video of the officer's response shows her shooting toward the suspect within seconds of her arrival. Video from Officer Deborah Ayers' police cruiser records her firing multiple shots at a man just 11 seconds after her car stops a few dozen feet from the scene.

A passer-by pointed Ayers in the direction of the suspect, who can be seen briefly in the background.

The video shows Ayers stumbling backward after firing several shots and then firing again. An officer coming from the other direction and not seen on the video used a stun gun on the suspect at almost the same time, said Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner.

Mallett lived in Nashville, Tenn., for 10 years until a month ago, when he moved to Columbus, police said. A message left with family members in Tennessee wasn't immediately returned Thursday, and a phone number for a Columbus family member wasn't accepting messages.

Nashville police said Thursday that Mallett had a July 2010 conviction for trespassing and a March 2000 conviction for resisting arrest. They had no details. A charge of unlawful possession of a weapon was dismissed in February 2011, they said.

New York state prison records, which couldn't be confirmed by authorities on Thursday, show robbery and attempted robbery convictions for a man with the same name, birthday and race as Mallett.

His father said he had stabbed a boy in New York during a fight over a girl when he was a teenager and spent time in the juvenile wing of the Rikers Island jail.

"He's been having years of problems," Ronald Mallett said. "He was always thinking that people were out to get him, so he always wanted to arm himself."

Two of the stabbing victims worked for the college, a for-profit trade school, one was a student and a fourth worked for the attorney general's office, Weiner said.

"There were other people that were trying to subdue this individual, but that's pretty hard to do with somebody who's armed with a couple knives," he said.

Student John Desir was in stable condition Thursday, while school employee Donte Dunnagan was in critical condition.

Weiner said attorney Jeff Maloon also was 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.

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