Woman killed in London knife attack was wife of FSU professor

Published August 4 2016
Updated August 4 2016

The American woman killed in a London knife attack was married to a Florida State University psychology professor teaching abroad, university officials said Thursday.

Professor Richard Wagner and his wife, Darlene Horton, had been in London while he taught a summer session at the school's London Study Program. On Wednesday night, Horton, 64, was killed when a man with a knife began attacking pedestrians in Russell Square.

The couple had planned to fly home to Tallahassee the next day.

"There are no words to express our heartache over this terrible tragedy," said FSU President John Thrasher in a prepared statement.

"We are shocked that such senseless violence has touched our own FSU family, and we will do all we can to assist Professor Wagner and his loved ones, as well as his friends and colleagues in the Psychology department, as they mourn."

FSU students had already left the program for the summer, said James Pitts, director of FSU International Programs. None were involved in the mass stabbing. FSU's London Study Centre is a few blocks away from Russell Square.

Pitts said the university immediately offered help to Wagner, its Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Psychology.

Five others were injured in the stabbing, one of whom remains hospitalized. Police said Thursday the suspect is a Norwegian teenager of Somali origin, and that they have not found signs that he was motivated by terrorism.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said it appeared to be a "spontaneous attack and that the victims were selected at random."

Calls to police came in around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday (5:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time), reporting a man attacking people with a knife in the streets around Russell Square, a bustling area full of students and tourists.

Police used a stun gun to subdue the 19-year-old suspect and arrested him on suspicion of murder.

Horton was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Contact Claire McNeill at cmcneill@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8321.