A 24-year-old man has been charged in connection with the stabbing of a university professor and two students during a gender studies lecture in Canada, in what police say was a “hate-motivated incident”.
Geovanny Villalba-Aleman, an international student who had recently graduated from Waterloo University in Ontario, is alleged to have carried out the “planned and targeted” attack “motivated by hate related to gender expression and gender identity”, police said in a press release.
About 40 students were attending the class on Wednesday (28 June) when a man stabbedthe 38-year-old professor, a 20-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man, police said.
The victims sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Villalba-Aleman has since been charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and mischief under $5,000.
“It is both sad and disturbing that this incident has occurred during Pride month,” Waterloo regional police service chief Mark Crowell said at a press conference on Thursday (29 June).
“We hope that this incident does not diminish from these celebrations but, instead, encourages us all to come together to continue to celebrate and inspire love over hate.”
In a statement on Twitter, the president of the university, Vivek Goel, said that the campus will continue to fly Pride and Two-Spirit flags until the end of July in response to the “hate-filled” attack.
“Professor Katy Fulfer and two students in her gender studies course were attacked because they were exploring society and gender,” Goel wrote.
“That this hate-filled attack, due to gender expression and identity, happened at the end of Pride month is even more painful.
“Our world is increasingly polarised and there are those who try to intimidate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. They want us to be afraid – afraid to learn, afraid to share, afraid to speak our truths.
“We won’t let this deter us from proclaiming our values of inclusion and openness.”
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, tweeted that he strongly condemned the “despicable” and “vile” incident.