Accused Tech sword attacker waives court hearing

Kshitij Shrotri, who received his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Tech in 2008, had been scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge at 11 a.m. at the Fulton County Jail, where he is being held on an aggravated assault charge. Additional charges may be filed.

Shroti will have a preliminary hearing later this month in Fulton County Superior Court.

The victim, identified as Samer Tawfik, underwent surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital Thursday. His condition was not available early Friday morning.

Shortly before 1:20 p.m., Shrotri stabbed the post-doctoral fellow with the sword at the Weber Space Science and Technology Building, authorities said.

Shrotri was quickly subdued by police officers, one of whom was hurt in a struggle. The injured Tech officer, Robert J. Turner, 29, of Griffin, is expected to return to work soon.

Psychology student Melissa Hayes saw a scuffle when police led the suspect out of the building at 281 Ferst Drive.

“He made quite a scene being carried out,” she said.

Student Jonathan Conley was heading toward the Weber building when he saw the victim being taken to an ambulance.

“His shirt was off and his hands were covered in blood,” Conley said.

Kurt Nelson, a freshman industrial engineering student from Orlando, was in class when he heard about the attack.

“They were testing the campus alert system at 11:30 this morning,” he said. “But when it happened, most of us found out from Facebook and Twitter.”

In a statement, Tech said the “rapid resolution of the incident preempted use of our emergency notification system, which is reserved for situations requiring members of the campus community to take immediate action.”

Officials have not released a possible motive for the attack.

The personal description in his doctoral dissertation pointed to Shrotri's pursuits outside his engineering career.

"When he is not working on his research," he wrote of himself, "Mr. Shrotri enjoys training in martial arts and hiking."

Since completing his doctorate, Shrotri "has not been affiliated with the Institute," spokesman Matt Nagel said. He is listed as a post-doctoral researcher for the University of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials.

But University of Delaware officials told the AJC late Thursday night that Shrotri went on paid leave in November, and his current status with the university is unclear.

Shrotri was born in Pune, Maharashtra, India, according to his PhD dissertation. Before attending Georgia Tech, he earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Maharashtra Institute of Technology, University of Pune and master's degree. in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from Purdue University.

--Staff writers Larry Hartstein, Christian Boone and Ty Tagami, and Marcus K. Garner contributed to this report.

Tech officials said they did not send out a campus-wide alert because the arrest was made almost immediately and there was no threat to the campus.

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