Police ID victims, suspect following Virginia training center stabbing

Prince William County Police Chief Peter Newsham addresses reporters Feb. 13, 2024. (WTOP/Scott Gelman)

Prince William County police have identified a man who was fatally stabbed during an attack inside of a Manassas, Virginia, trade school Tuesday as well as the suspect who was later shot dead by officers.

In a news release Wednesday, police said Philip Austin Brant, 26, of Woodbridge, stabbed a man in a classroom at the apprenticeship training center located at 7016 Infantry Ridge Road in Manassas shortly after 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Brant pulled a knife from his backpack in a classroom and stabbed the man multiple times, police said. He then exited that classroom and stabbed a second man in another classroom before heading toward the center’s entrance.

It was then that arriving officers saw Brant at the entrance to the training center and asked him to drop the knife.

Police said Brant then moved toward the officers.

Two uniformed officers then opened fire from their “department-issued handguns.” The suspect was hit and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

One victim identified as Elijah Islam Safadi, 23, of Manassas, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The second victim, a 23-year-old man from Fairfax, is listed in critical condition at a local hospital.

A police spokesman said Brant and the two stabbing victims were all students at the school.

Both officers involved in the shooting, one with five years of service and one with 1.5 years of service, were placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to the news release.

Officers have asked that anyone with information regarding this incident contact the Prince William County Police Department at 703-792-7000 or submit a webtip to: pwcva.gov/policetip.

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Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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