Three Morgan State University football players were injured during an incident that left two of them stabbed on campus Tuesday afternoon.
It was the third violent incident police have responded to on campus in a week. The stabbings happened outside the entrance to a cafeteria about 2:05 p.m., after a suspect was observed with a knife, according to Clint Coleman, a university spokesman.
"Somebody pulled out a knife and just began swinging it widely," Coleman said.
A police spokesman said one player was stabbed in the chest and taken to a hospital in very serious condition. He was later listed in critical but stable condition, the university said in a statement.
The second victim was stabbed in the back and buttocks. Police initally said three victims were stabbed but on Wednesday, said that a third man suffered abrasions from the attack but had not stabbed.
Police almost immediately took a suspect into custody. He was identified Wednesday as Carlos Mars, 19, who remains in jail and was charged with assault and weapons charges. Morgan State officials said he is a student.
Police said the attack grew out of a dispute between two groups. Coleman said several "persons of interest" were also detained for interviews.
"The police are confident that there is no remaining threat to the University," Morgan President David Wilson said in a statement.
Sim Dena, a freshman from Prince George's County, said he saw paramedics lifting one of the victims to a bench as he bled from the chest. The student was then put on a stretcher.
It was the second stabbing in four days on the Northeast Baltimore campus. On Friday, a male student stabbed his roommate with scissors inside a dormitory after an argument over the cleanliness of their room.
On Friday night, police were called after fights broke out at a campus dance that drew 1,200 people. The party, sponsored by the student government and Greek letter organizations, was the first on-campus party since a moratorium had been placed on such events a year ago, in part due to previous violence.
Coleman said Tuesday's stabbings outside the Howard P. Rawlings Residence and Dining Hall may have grown out of the fights at the party. Wilson said no text alerts warning students of the stabbings were issued because the university did not consider the stabbings a random act of violence but a fight between "known parties."
Wilson said the university plans to "apply severe disciplinary actions" to all students found to be involved in recent incidents of violence on campus.
"I want to assure the University community that we here at Morgan take the safety of the entire University quite seriously, and as such, the behaviors that we have seen from a few of our students over the past several days will simply not be tolerated," Wilson said. "This is not Morgan!"
Wilson hosted a meeting on campus on Tuesday night that was closed to the news media.
The stabbings drew quick response from Baltimore police, whose Northeastern District police station is adjacent to campus. Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis were among those who drove to the scene.
Detectives and crime scene technicians inspected the large courtyard area behind residence halls late Tuesday afternoon as students went on with their days. Many seemed undisturbed by the incident and said they felt too accustomed to such violence. Many students contacted did not want to be quoted, some saying they feared reprisal. About 6,200 full-time students attend Morgan.
Andrae Francois, a senior engineering student, walked around with a stunned look on his face.
"It's crazy. We just had police here over the last weekend because of violence," said Francois, 22, who is from Trinidad and Tobago. "It's not good for the school's reputation."
He called Morgan "home away from home" and said he felt "emotional for my school."
"It's a very good institution," he said.
City Councilman Brandon M. Scott, who often holds anti-violence walks near Morgan, called the stabbing Tuesday "surprising" and "unfortunate."
"We have to figure out ways conflict can be dealt with without violence," he said, "not just in colleges and schools but neighborhoods here in Baltimore and around the nation."
Other football players declined to comment as they walked past crime tape. According to the school athletic department's web page, Tuesday was the first day of spring practices.
The football team, which was 7-6 last year, captured a share of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship and earned a trip to the NCAA FCS playoffs. The roster lists 80 players.
In 2012, a 20-year-old offensive lineman was shot and injured in the same area of campus as Tuesday's stabbing. A Washington, D.C., man who was arrested and charged in connection with the incident pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and use of a firearm in a violent crime in 2013, court records show.
Baltimore police asked anyone with information about Tuesday's stabbings to call 410-396-2444. Wilson said students emotionally affected by the incident should call the Morgan State counseling center at 443-885-3130.
Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell and Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.