Salem State University police had checked on mental state of alleged bus stabber

Timothy G. Wells, the man who allegedly stabbed a student and a shuttle bus driver at Salem State University on Wednesday, had recently been in contact with university police because of concerns about his mental state, the university police chief said today.

Chief Gene Labonte said that Salem police had an “interaction” with Wells one-and-a-half to two weeks ago and several days after that, university police had also been in contact with Wells to “check on his psychiatric well-being.”

Wells was arrested by Salem police on Sept. 3 when he was discovered with a 4-inch folding knife on a football field under construction. When Wells was questioned at Bertram Field, authorities reported, he said he was meditating and trying to become one with nature.

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The university went into lockdown for two hours Wednesday after the attack on the student and the driver who went to her aid. Both the student and driver suffered minor injuries, a university spokeswoman told the Globe.

Labonte said that the student did not know Wells.

Wells was arrested Wednesday night in upstate New York. It wasn’t clear when he would be brought back to Massachusetts.

He is a 25-year-old senior at the university from Woburn who had taken a leave of absence two to three weeks ago, university officials said. He fled the campus after the 11:10 a.m. attacks, leading police on a daylong search, the Globe reported today.