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Man stabs four people at college in Columbus, Ohio

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A knife-wielding man stabbed four people at a college in downtown Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, critically wounding three of them before a police officer shot and wounded the attacker, a police spokesman said.

Columbus police spokesman Sergeant Rich Weiner told reporters three knives were found at the scene of the attacks, one inside the building and two outside. His remarks were broadcast on the website of Columbus television station WBNS.

Three of the people in critical condition were taken to Grand Medical Center in Columbus, according to hospital spokesman Colin Yoder.

"The officer shot and stopped the individual from doing more harm," local Fraternal Order of Police President Sergeant Jim Gilbert told Reuters on Wednesday.

Weiner said two people from Miami-Jacobs Career College were stabbed, but he could not say whether they were students or workers. Two other people were stabbed in the lobby area.

"We don't know what the motive was behind the attacks," Weiner said. He said the initial attack occurred in the admissions office, and from there led into the lobby.

Chuck Vella, spokesman for Miami-Jacobs, could not say whether employees or students were among the victims.

"All we know is that the police acted very quickly," Vella told Reuters. He said students and staff of the college evacuated and classes were canceled for Wednesday and Thursday.

The Columbus incident was the fifth violent attack within a week in a public place at locations scattered across the country.

Earlier on Wednesday, a gunman at a courthouse in Beaumont, Texas, near Houston shot dead one person and wounded three others, including one he ran over with his truck, before the attacker was wounded in a gunfight with police.

Last Friday, a knife-wielding attacker stabbed a judge and shot a sheriff's deputy with the officer's own gun in a county courthouse in Washington state.

Last Thursday, two people were killed and seven people wounded in a shooting at a psychiatric institute at the University of Pittsburgh.

Exactly a week ago, a gunman fired a flurry of shots into the air and then traded gunfire with police outside the Tulsa County Courthouse in Oklahoma, wounding a sheriff's deputy and a bystander.

Prior to the last week, the deadliest recent attack in a public place was in Chardon, Ohio, on February 27, when a high school student with a handgun opened fire on other students in a crowded cafeteria, killing three teenagers and wounding two others.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski and Kim Palmer; Editing by Greg McCune and Cynthia Johnston)