BANGOR, Maine — Two of the women who rescued a fellow Husson University student being attacked Wednesday by a man with a knife said they were meant to be nearby when the attack occurred at about 7:40 a.m. in a campus parking lot.
Jesse Hladik, 21, of Buckfield and Heather Mann, 18, of Rochester, N.H., said that they almost didn’t take their morning walk Wednesday and left at least 10 minutes later than they usually do.
The two talked about their roles in the altercation at an afternoon press conference arranged by Husson spokeswoman Julie Green. The other three female students who helped subdue Horst Wolk, 45, of Bangor declined to be interviewed, Green said.
“I think we were meant to go there later than normal,” said Mann, a first-year student majoring in psychology.
Hladik, who forced the man to drop his knife, and Mann, who called 911 and alerted campus security, met through Campus Crusade for Christ. After the press conference, they agreed that God had put them in the right place at the right time to help their fellow student.
“Every day in my life, I know God is in control,” said Hladik, who is a junior majoring in secondary life science education. “It’s not something I’m always conscious of or that the thought is always running through my head. I just know he’ll be there.”
The incident unfolded in a parking lot next to Husson’s O’Donnell Commons. Wolk, who isn’t a student, rammed the victim’s vehicle after she pulled into a parking space, then jumped out of his vehicle with a knife in his hand, Green said.
Hladik said that she and Mann heard some yelling as they walked past the parking lot, which is adjacent to the building where the School of Health and the School of Education and Extended Learning are located. Both women said they kept walking, but then heard someone yell, “Help. Call 911.”
Mann called 911 on her cell phone, then ran to the campus security office in Peabody Hall because she did not have the number in her phone.
Hladik said that she ran toward the call for help.
“There was already another girl there, and she was kind of behind him trying to do something; I couldn’t really tell [what],” she said at the press conference. “The victim was saying, ‘There’s a knife.’ So, as I went to grab the guy’s hand, I saw he had a nice little knife in his hand.”
Hladik said that her older brothers — one a police officer, the other a Marine — showed her some important pressure points to use if she ever needed to fend off an attacker. She said that she was able to grab Wolk’s wrist and apply pressure to the appropriate spot to make him drop the knife.
“A couple of other girls joined us and we just got him” down on the ground until security came, she told reporters.
Hladik said the other women who helped subdue Wolk are nursing students. Green did not identify them.
The victim’s name and her relationship to the attacker were not released by Bangor police.
Wolk has been charged with attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault and violation of a protection order. Police are treating the incident as a domestic violence case.
He remained Wednesday night at the Penobscot County Jail unable to make bail set at $25,000 cash. If he does not make bail today, Wolk will appear at 1 p.m. Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Husson officials Wednesday repeatedly praised the students’ efforts.
Rene Collins, director of counseling services at Husson, said that “courage is not a feeling people have, but a behavior.”
“Three women are murdered every day in this country by their boyfriends or husbands,” she said. “What these students did today is keep one woman from being murdered.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.