Prince William Co. investigation finds police that killed man who fatally stabbed classmate acted reasonably

An internal investigation carried out by Prince William County, Virginia, police found the officers that shot and killed a man who fatally stabbed his classmate at a Manassas trade school acted in a manner that was “justified and reasonable,” the department said Friday.

On Feb. 13, 26-year-old Philip Austin Brant, of Woodbridge, stabbed two of his classmates at the IBEW Local 26 training center, killing one and critically wounding the other.

Officers responded to the scene and later said that Brant was located “near the front entrance armed with a knife” before more than one officer opened fire and killed him.

“Officers instantly engaged the suspect who was armed with a knife,” the department “As the officers continued to issue commands to the suspect to drop the knife, the suspect advanced towards the officers. Two uniformed police officers opened fire from their department-issued handguns, ultimately fatally striking the suspect.”

In the “seemingly unprovoked attack,” Elijah Safadi, 23, and another 23-year-old man, who was also a student, were stabbed.

Safadi died of his injuries after being transported to a nearby hospital. The other student was stabbed in another classroom and was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but survived.

Ƶapp spoke with Safadi’s uncle after the attack.

He described his nephew as having “the heart of a lion.”

“He died a hero, and we will carry that with us for the rest of our lives,” Chris Montanez, Safadi’s uncle, said.

Peter Newsham, Chief of the Prince William County Police Department, said the officers acted “heroically” in the statement.

“Their actions should be commended as they focused on stopping the danger and treating victims,” Newsham said. “My sincerest condolences go out to the families of Elijah Safadi and our surviving victim who continue to grieve and recover from this tragic, unnecessary incident.”

It is not clear from the statement if the officers involved in the shooting are still on paid administrative leave, but both have been cleared to return to full duty. The police department promised it would continue to look into the incident and release further information to the public as they get it.

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Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at Ƶapp. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining Ƶapp, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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