HOUSTON - Prosecutors said a 24-year-old police woman was stabbed a total of 14 times by a man who allegedly told investigators he was out to kill the police officer because "cops are oppressive."
Houston homicide investigators said Jeremiah M. Matthews, 23, tried to kill an off-duty Houston Community College Officer Aprils Pikes early Tuesday morning while she was working as a security guard at a Meyerland Walmart store.
During a magistrate's hearing Tuesday night, prosecutors said, "The defendant gave a statement admitting he had the intent to attack a police officer and his desire to kill a police officer."
Investigators at the scene said Matthews told them he did it to get back at police for what he calls brutal treatment. But customers helped stop the brutal attack.
According to witnesses, Matthews came into the store, tackled Pikes and began stabbing her with a hunting knife.
"I saw him on her just stabbing her," said witness Abe Baker, who was one of several shoppers who intervened to stop the attack.
Baker said he was leaving the Walmart in the 9500 block of South Post Oak when he saw Matthews attack the officer.
"I wasn't really thinking," Baker said. "His arm was just up getting ready to stab her and I just grabbed his arm and took him down, and that's when everybody else came over and we all just took him down."
Baker said he exchanged a glance with the man, even said hello. The man seemed pleasant, smiling just moments before police said he tackled the officer and brutally stabbed her in her right arm and torso.
"He was in an upbeat mood, whistling and he had a fast pace, walking fast," Baker said.
"It appears he just walked right in and attacked her -- (walked) straight up to her and attacked her," said Houston Police Department spokesperson Kese Smith.
Paramedics rushed Pikes to Ben Taub Hospital, where she underwent six hours of surgery Tuesday.
Matthews allegedly told police he targeted the female officer, "for the sole purpose of killing a cop because cops are oppressive."
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, community activist Deric Muhammad spoke on behalf of Matthews' family.
"He does have a diagnostic history of mental illness in the past. To what degree that played into what happened, we don't know," Muhammad said.
He also said Matthews may have been influenced by riots Monday night in the aftermath of outrage over the death of a Baltimore man in police custody.
Officials said Pikes is expected to survive the brutal attack, but she may lose her right arm.
Matthews is charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He could get up to 99 years in prison if convicted.
Matthews is being held in the Harris County Jail without bond. He is due in state district court Wednesday morning.
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