SALEM — A student on leave from Salem State University was arrested in upstate New York Wednesday night after he allegedly stabbed a female student on a university shuttle bus earlier in the day and then wounded the driver who tried to help.
Timothy G. Wells, a 25-year-old senior from Woburn, was being sought on two counts of attempted murder, following the campus attack Wednesday morning. News of Wells’ arrest was reported on Salem State’s Facebook page late Wednesday night.
Both stabbing victims suffered minor injuries, said university spokeswoman Karen Cady.
Wells had taken a leave from Salem State about two to three weeks ago, university officials said. He fled the campus in a 1999 Toyota Camry after the 11:10 a.m. attacks, leading police on a day-long search, authorities said.
University officials locked down the campus about an hour later after receiving a report that Wells might be headed back to the school. Shades were drawn, lights turned off, and students were asked to sit on the floor away from windows during a “shelter in place” order that lasted from about 12:30 p.m. to 2:30.
The Horace Mann Laboratory School, a public elementary school, also was locked down.
Wells had also been arrested by Salem police on Sept. 3 in another incident involving a knife.
“Everyone was pretty scared; everyone was freaking out,” said Nathan Hughes, a 21-year-old student from Methuen.
“I got a text walking to class, and all of a sudden helicopters were everywhere,” said Joseph Guarnera, 21, a student from Chelmsford. “This is my first semester. I’ve only been here for two or three weeks, and something like this is already happening? It makes you think twice about who you sit beside on a bus.”
The female victim, who is not believed to have known Wells, suffered a minor laceration to her hand and was treated at the scene. The shuttle driver, who received a minor puncture wound to the chest, was treated at North Shore Medical Center Salem Hospital.
The shuttle bus on which the attack occurred is one of several large vans used to ferry students around campus. As police searched for Wells, the shuttle was cordoned off in a campus parking lot, guarded by a university police officer.
Although the lockdown canceled campus activities for the rest of the day, many students said they regarded the assault as a random, isolated crime.
“I think it’s just an unfortunate incident, you know? said Benjamin Skelic, 22, of Salem. “I understand this can happen anywhere, anytime.”
In addition to Wednesday’s capture, Wells faced a different arrest warrant this month when he failed to appear in Salem District Court following his arrest Sept. 3. He was arrested on that date when he was discovered with a 4-inch folding knife on a football field under construction and closed to the public, according to police.
When authorities questioned Wells at Bertram Field, authorities reported, he said he was meditating and trying to become one with nature.
Wells was charged with trespassing and carrying a knife in violation of the city’s 2-inch limit, authorities said in the complaint.
University officials said they intended to reopen the school Thursday morning.