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2010 October 4 - 12:00 am

Security in Spotlight after Stabbing on Missouri Campus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Security at a Kansas City community college has come under scrutiny after a dean was stabbed while several people were awaiting the arrival of Gov. Jay Nixon.

Mark James, chancellor of the Metropolitan Community College system, said he would be reviewing security plans in the five-campus system to see where improvements could be made in the wake of the attack that injured Albert Dimmitt Jr., dean of instruction at Penn Valley Community College.

“It is not until you actually have a real event that you ferret out where your gaps and your holes are in your planning process,” James said at a news conference. “I want to do everything I can to bulletproof our plan.”

Dimmitt was stabbed in the neck as he stood with other administrators at Penn Valley waiting for Nixon to announce details of $57 million in funds to expand high-speed broadband access in Missouri. Nixon, who was still at the Kansas City airport when the attack occurred, canceled the event after learning of the attack. Dimmitt was hospitalized after the attack but is expected to recover.

Authorities said the suspect, Casey Brezik, 22, had intended to attack Nixon and mistakenly believed he had done so. Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp said Brezik did not know Nixon and had no particularly beef with the governor, but he decided to attack him because he was a top government official.

“When the detectives told him it was not the governor, he appeared to be upset,” Snapp added.

Brezik has been charged in Jackson County with two felony counts each of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Two of the charges are related to the attack on Dimmitt, and two allege that Brezik also injured James, who said he was “nicked” by the knife in the chest as he tried to help Dimmitt.

During his initial appearance in court, Brezik, a student at Penn Valley, was shackled at the hands and feet and stood quietly while a judge read him the charges. The judge entered not guilty pleas and scheduled an Oct. 6 court appearance. Brezik did not have an attorney.

Police said Brezik was wearing a bulletproof vest the day of the attack, but Snapp said it was unclear whether he regularly wore one or had done so particularly for that day.

Witnesses said the attacker first went to the podium where Nixon was scheduled to speak, then ran out of the room while holding a knife and stabbed Dimmitt in the hallway.

Relatives of Brezik said he has battled mental illness for years. His father, Raymond Florio, told The Kansas City Star that Brezik talked about “big brother watching” and harbored anti-government views.

The Star reported that Brezik was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2006 and spent time in at least four mental hospitals, according to court documents.

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