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Southern Nazarene University student stabbed while trying to help the homeless

Southern Nazarene University students were distributing food to the homeless near Lake Overholser when a man attacked Zachary Smith, 21.
BY ROBERT MEDLEY rmedley@opubco.com Modified: February 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm •  Published: February 6, 2012
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A Southern Nazarene University student was trying to help the homeless when a vagrant man stabbed him near Lake Overholser, police said.

Zachary Smith, 21, was with other students taking food to homeless people when they encountered a man on the west side of Lake Overholser about 7:45 p.m. Saturday, police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said.

The students placed food on the ground near the man, who struck Smith in the head and stabbed him several times, Knight said.

Smith was taken to OU Medical Center where he was treated for wounds and released, hospital spokesman Dennis Gimmel said.

The man who attacked Smith is described as white and in his 40s, Knight said. They did not find him.

SNU officials were contacted by police. They notified Smith's family and helped him get back to campus, SNU spokeswoman Sarah Roberts said.

Roberts released a statement about the incident:

“We are deeply concerned for the students that were involved in this traumatic experience and are most grateful that the injuries sustained were not more serious. The students involved were acting compassionately, as many of our students do on a daily basis, serving the community and meeting human needs as they encounter them.”

Roberts said SNU has counseling available to students who may need it. The students were not involved in a sponsored SNU activity when the attack happened, she said.

Anyone with information about the attack can call Crime Stoppers at 235-7300.