Michael Huppert said his son told him he was taking the antidepressant Paxil.http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stories/17407/updated-signs-of-mental-illness-noted-before-stabbing
Updated: Signs of mental illness noted before stabbing
by Gordon Block, associate news editor
The father of a student arrested for assaulting several police officers after stabbing himself on the Drillfield Wednesday described him as a good kid who needs some help.
Alexander Huppert, a freshman university studies major, was charged with three felony counts of assaulting an officer, as well as charges of resisting arrest and destruction of property.
Huppert drew police attention early Wednesday afternoon after he demanded students at a table on the Drillfield stab him with a pen in the hand during a religious discussion event. Taken into custody after a struggle with an officer and onlookers, Huppert later attacked several other officers and broke a window out of a police car.
Michael Huppert, Alexander Huppert’s father, said he had made the decision to bring his son home Wednesday morning with the help of a counselor from Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center.
“We tried to call him, but all of the sudden his phone was off,” Michael Huppert said.
After calling around to several campus offices without any luck, he received a call from Tech Police.
“I was initially relieved because they knew where he was, but then we found out he was in jail,” Michael Huppert said.
Michael Huppert said his son had never been in trouble.
“He’s always been very shy and insecure,” he said.
He said that his son was doing well in classes, but admitted struggling with anxiety. He said Alexander Huppert had started to seek counseling at Cook Counseling Center.
“He was excited about it, that he was really addressing the problem,” Michael Huppert said.
He said Alexander Huppert had recently transitioned to group counseling sessions after struggling to make progress with one-on-one sessions, and added his son went to a group counseling session on the day of his arrest.
Michael Huppert said his son told him he was taking the antidepressant Paxil.
“We had understood it was a prescription, but that may not have been true,” Michael Huppert said, speculating that his son may have bought it online instead of receiving it from a licensed prescriber.
“That’s always the kind of thing you worry about when you send your kid to college,” he said. “You’re not there to monitor them most of the time.”
Wednesday’s incident took place at a booth run for a local version of “Ask an Atheist Day,” sponsored by Freethinkers at Tech. Michael Huppert said religion wasn’t something his son regularly talked about.
“I would describe him as Christian, and as a believer, but definietely not a fanatic,” Michael Huppert said.
The outburst is a stark contrast to previous commendations Alexander Huppert received.
Alexander Huppert won several awards in 2009 after saving the life of young boy, his neighbor, who suffered respiratory arrest.
According to a report from insidenova.com, Alexander Huppert, then 17 years old, performed life saving CPR until fire and rescue personnel could respond. For his actions, he was presented a Red Cross “Extraordinary Action” award by the local office.
Michael Huppert said his son was hesitant to pick up the award.
“He would have preferred that nobody known about it,” Michael Huppert said.
Deborah Campbell, who was the office’s public support director at the time, said Alexander Huppert was the only recipient of the award in her six years at the office.
“For this chapter, it is pretty rare,” Campbell said.
Alexander Huppert was also named the 2009 Gainesville Hero of the Year.
John Stirrup, the Gainesville supervisor who presented the award, said Alexander Huppert acted in a “very calm, stabilizing manner.”
“He took a situation that was very tenuous at best, and brought it to a very happy ending,” Stirrup said.
Stirrup said he had known the Huppert family for more than eight years. He described his interactions with Alexander Huppert as “always very positive.”
He’s a great kid,” Stirrup said.
Alexander Huppert’s younger sister Allie Huppert, who is a junior at Battlefield High School, described her brother as a “genius.”
“He’s incredibly smart with everything,” she said. “I’ve been having problems in school, and he’s helped me with everything.”
Alexander Huppert was a member of Battlefield High School’s robotics club. He also participated on the school’s wrestling, football and swimming teams.
“He wasn’t outgoing, but he participated in a lot of things,” Michael Huppert said.
Michael Huppert added that he had received several calls from family friends offering support.
“It reaffirms your faith in human beings,” Michael Huppert said.
Michael Huppert on Friday said Alexander had been transferred to Western Virginia Regional Jail. On the jail's website, Alexander is listed at a height of 6 feet, 5 inches and weighing 165 pounds.
Michael Huppert said he had only spoken with his son briefly by a phone call on Thursday night.
"He’s under the impression we’re going to be able to come and pick him up and take him home," Huppert said. "He doesn’t seem to comprehend he’s stuck there for a while."
Michael Huppert said his son was in a situation where he needs mental health help.
“We hope to get him into a facility where he can get that help rather than have him rot in a jail cell,” Michael Huppert said.
Michael Huppert credited Tech officials for their assistance throughout yesterday’s incident, saying he “couldn’t be more complimentary of the way they treated us.” He also praised Tech’s police department for how they dealt with his son.
“I couldn’t be happier that nobody got seriously hurt, and he didn’t get hurt,” he said.
He noted the difficulties the arrest will bring Alexander Huppert in the future.
“It will haunt him for the rest of his life probably,” Michael Huppert said. “He probably won’t be able to go back to Virginia Tech, even if they would let him.”