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Employee stabs multiple people at business in Tallahassee, Florida, police say

The suspect was identified by police as an employee of the business. A police document says he was being considered for termination.

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By Minyvonne Burke and Daniela Mencos

Five people were stabbed early Wednesday at a Tallahassee business by an employee armed with a folding knife, police said.

The suspect, Antwann D. Brown, 41, was taken into custody around 10:30 a.m. outside Dyke Industries, where he works, Tallahassee Police Chief Steven D. Outlaw said at a news conference.

Five people were taken to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, a hospital spokesperson told NBC News, correcting information from the hospital earlier that said it received six patients.

One person is in serious condition, according to the spokesperson. The other four patients are in either fair or good condition.

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The stabbing occurred just after 8:30 a.m. When emergency responders arrived at Dyke Industries, they found "multiple stabbing victims and provided immediate medical attention," police said.

Just prior to the stabbing, there was a verbal dispute, and Brown was asked to clock out, which he did around 8:20, the police chief said.

The police chief said at the time that authorities did not know the motive for the crime. "As far as we know it was spontaneous," he said.

A probable cause affidavit filed in the case says that management considered firing Brown, who then found out about it and confronted management before he was told to clock out and leave. He then allegedly called his pastor and asked him to pray for him, according to the affidavit, and then returned to the business and began stabbing people.

Outlaw praised employees for trying to hold Brown down on the ground until police arrived.

"Some of the employees, as he was leaving, armed themselves with whatever they could ... and actually held him at bay. That delayed his escape, which was very good for us," Chief Outlaw said at the news conference. "But he got up and started to leave again, and at some point, the officer engaged and took him into custody."

Brown has been charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the Tallahassee Police Department said Wednesday evening.

The probable cause affidavit filed says that Brown pointed a knife at one person and said, “I’m going to spare you this time,” before leaving the business.

The document says that the most seriously injured victim suffered two collapsed lungs.

Brown is expected to have a first court appearance Thursday morning, the prosecutor said. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.