Off-duty fireman, civilians help others after Princeton stabbing

The motive is still a mystery in the slashing attacks on two shoppers at a Walmart Wednesday afternoon by a store employee.

Despite the chaos, there was a heroic moment by a wounded first responders and selfless acts by civilians

McKinney Battalion Fire Chief George Cook was one of two people stabbed at the Walmart on Highway 380. Store employee Nicolas Martinez in custody and police believe he is responsible.

Police have released surveillance video from inside the store that shows the chaos following the attack. Video shows Cook kneeling down, telling people to get out and telling others how to help the other victim, Walmart independent contractor Fredrick Oswald, who was stabbed in the abdomen.

"He's directing other employees to help apply pressure to stop the bleeding on this guy because he's probably going into shock,” said Princeton Assistant Police Chief Jerry Varner.

Cook’s throat was slit before he started helping Oswald.

“I ask are there any more victims?” Varner said. “He's directing other people. It just didn't dawn on me that he's injured. Then he goes, ‘I am, chief.’”

Both Cook and Oswald were taken to Medical Center at Plano by air ambulance and are expected to make a full recovery.

“His daughter, who was with him, grabbed some other cloth materials,” Varner said. “He pulls it up (from his throat) and I see the severity of the wound and I say, ‘Yes we're Care-Flighting you."

“For that McKinney fireman to be that cool, it's just amazing!” Varner said. “It's a testament to the profession."

Other surveillance video shows Martinez, 20, running with his arms spread wide just moments after police said he stabbed Cook and Oswald. Police said neither man was a predetermined target in the attack.

Other angles show Martinez walking out the front door. Police said an employee tried to stop Martinez from leaving, but Martinez ran off into a nearby field.

Martinez was arrested at the scene. Police said he had a bloody pocket knife and a box cutter.

Surveillance video also captured other selfless acts by civilians. One store employee was seen helping an elderly man out to safety while the rest of the crowd was running out.

As others rushed out, Oswald's mom braved the crowd to check on her son, almost getting trampled over.

Princeton Police Chief James Waters said he is proud of his officers and all the first responders, but also moved by the citizens helping each other.           

"We need to unify, as a community, as a state and as a nation,” he said. “Citizens need to work with the police, police with the citizens. Everybody needs to come together."

About 300 people were inside the store when the attack happened just before 4 p.m. Police do not know the motive, but do not believe it is tied to any race, sex or religion.

Allen police had an active warrant for Martinez’s arrest issued for a similar incident that occurred at an Allen Lowe’s in May. The warrant was issued June 29, but police didn’t have time to execute it. Martinez was supposed to have a mental evaluation around the same time.

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