Stabbing victim and assailant have romantic past

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Photo of Chenxi Deng courtesy of APD

The alleged assailant in Wednesday’s fork stabbing in the Engineering Science Building followed the victim from China in order to re-kindle a romantic relationship, according to UTPD officers.

Chenxi Deng, a 22-year-old graduate of Peking University in Beijing, supposedly stabbed UT graduate student Li You in the nose with a metal fork on the third floor of the ENS building Wednesday evening at roughly 5:45 p.m. 

According to the police affidavit, You had four visible puncture wounds on the left side of her nose as well as abrasions near her left eye. During a press conference Thursday, UTPD Sergeant Charles Bonnet said she might have a broken nose.

You was initially treated by EMS in the engineering building, but was taken to St. David’s Medical Center for further treatment. She was discharged Thursday.

Deng was charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, under the category of dating violence, which is a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Though a judge at the Travis County Central Booking Facility set Deng’s bond at $50,000, Deng had not posted bail at press time.

Deng was also given an emergency protective order requiring that he stay at least 200 yards away from You at all times.

According to Bonnet, Deng and You were involved in a romantic relationship as undergraduates at Peking University, though You left China after graduation to pursue her master’s degree at UT.

After maintaining contact via social media, Deng decided to follow You to Austin, Bonnet said. In a statement given through a UT Mandarin Chinese translator, Deng said he began “auditing” classes he thought You might take in order to run into her.

“[Deng] had a good idea of what classes she was going to be taking because they had been undergrads together,” Bonnet said.

Hongjiang Li, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student who was roommates with You last year, said he saw Deng enter the class he and You were taking Wednesday night before the stabbing.

“Before the class began, I was sitting on [You’s] right side,” Li said. “The guy came in and sat to the left of the girl, and she immediately moved to the right of me.”

Li said he did not recognize Deng as a usual student.

“I didn’t think he was registered for the class,” Li said. “I’d never seen that guy before.”

Li said once You left the classroom, Deng immediately followed her. Li stayed behind to talk with other classmates, but left the room when he heard police in the hallway.

According to Bonnet, You and Deng were talking in the hallway before the interaction escalated to physical violence.

“[Deng] attempted to have a conversation, [You] attempted to not have that conversation, it escalated into an argument and then into a physical confrontation,” Bonnet said.

After the alleged stabbing, four students nearby took hold of Deng and held him to the ground until UTPD and APD officers arrived.

Electrical engineering junior Priscilla Chang said she witnessed Deng being restrained when she went to use the third-floor elevator.

“I saw the guy being pinned down by a few other guys, and he was going nuts,” Chang told The Daily Texan on Wednesday. “He was yelling some crazy stuff, but I couldn’t really tell what it was — he seemed incoherent. He was fighting the guys trying to hold him down.”

You could not be reached for comment.