Police: Report of a stabbing attack Monday in West Campus was false


Police: Man accidentally cut himself on the leg while playing with a knife and then lied about it to police.

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley says man made up story due to “expense that the medical bill might pose.”

Report, coming on the same day as the deadly knife attack at UT, had caused confusion.

Austin police now say that a second stabbing that had been reported Monday near the University of Texas — within hours of an on-campus knife attack that left one student dead and three others injured — never happened.

Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley on Wednesday afternoon said the man had reported that someone stabbed him.

Instead, he actually accidentally cut himself on the leg while playing with a knife and then lied about it to police, Manley said. The man, identified in online police records about the reported attack as Lewis Romel Yarbrough, admitted to detectives Wednesday that he made the story up after considering the medical expense he was about to incur, the chief said.

“He transported himself to the hospital for treatment. Then, realizing the expense that the medical bill might pose, he decided to link this to the attack that took place on the UT campus earlier in the day,” Manley said.

The man may be charged with giving a false report to a police officer, but authorities are still investigating the case. On Wednesday evening, he hadn’t been charged with a crime.

The American-Statesman reached out to Yarbrough for comment, but he said the Statesman had “false information” and declined to comment further. His Facebook page had been taken down Wednesday evening.

Austin police took heavy criticism this week for how it informed the public after the West Campus incident was reported. Police received reports about a possible stabbing near 26th and Nueces streets around 4:30 p.m. Monday. But police officials initially said reports of the stabbing — coming so soon after the on-campus attack — were rumors. It wasn’t until around 9:30 p.m. that police confirmed that they had received a report about the alleged incident.

“There was a lot going on Monday. Social media was very active. There were multiple reports of stabbings. There was even a report of a shooting, and we were actively working on each and every one of those,” Manley said.

If detectives were skeptical, Manley said it had nothing to do with the delay.

”We never want to be in a position where we make an early assessment and not believe someone’s account, not put out information and then find out we were wrong,” he said.

Even though the report turned out to be false, Manley still said the department should have shared the reported information sooner with the community.

“We should have been more sensitive to the concerns in the West Campus community and the UT community as a whole, in letting them know that what we thought at the time was an incident, that now we know was not an incident, we should have brought that forward sooner,” Manley said Wednesday.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Texas Democrats see big jump in turnout on first day of early voting

In the state’s 15 counties with the most registered voters, 51 percent more Democrats voted Tuesday, the first day of early voting for the party’s March 6 primary, than voted on the first day of early of voting for the 2014 Democratic primary. Meanwhile, the number of Republican primary voters on Tuesday increased by just 16 percent in...
Will Abbott take advice on Whitaker’s death sentence?
Will Abbott take advice on Whitaker’s death sentence?

Whether Gov. Greg Abbott spares death row inmate Thomas Whitaker from Thursday evening’s scheduled execution could hinge on how much trust the governor places on the group of advisers who recommended mercy in the case. Spurred by the father who Whitaker tried to have killed in 2003, all seven members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles supported...
Austin police ID man killed in Monday shooting, name officers involved

Austin police have identified a man who was fatally shot during an officer-involved shooting on Monday as 23-year-old Thomas Vincent Alvarez. Police also named seven officers who were placed on administrative leave after opening fire on Alvarez as Matthew Henion, DeAndre Wright, Nicholas Grebhart, Benjamin Rogers, Robert Brady, Rafael Rosales and Khristof...
Hundreds of Austin-area students walk out in wake of Florida shooting
Hundreds of Austin-area students walk out in wake of Florida shooting

Nearly 500 students at schools across Central Texas staged walkouts Wednesday to demand safer campus policies, call for stricter gun laws and show their solidarity with students in Florida after a high school shooting there that left 17 people dead. The demonstrations came one week after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland...
Graham forged deep friendships with Texas political giants
Graham forged deep friendships with Texas political giants

Billy Graham swam naked with Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House, prayed with LBJ at Camp David and said words over the late president’s casket alongside the Pedernales River. He joined George W. Bush for a 1985 dip in the chilly Atlantic Ocean at Kennebunkport, Maine, an unknowing and unofficial baptism for a man close to giving up the bottle...
More Stories