Knife-wielding man threatens Elizabeth Smart, punches police: Report

The Indiana State University offer was trying to protect Smart

An 80-year-old man was arrested at an Indiana State University event after he allegedly approached Elizabeth Smart with a knife in his pocket and punched a police officer who intervened on Smart’s behalf.

Claude Hudson was attending the Elizabeth Smart Speaker Series at Indiana State University Monday night when a police officer spotted him playing with a knife while staring at Smart, who was signing books at the time.

According to an affidavit obtained by the Tribune-Star, Indiana State University Police Captain Ian Loomis observed Hudson holding a folding knife while repeatedly turning in Smart’s direction. According to the affidavit, Hudson put the knife in his pocket and approached Smart “in a dedicated and determined fashion,” ignoring the line of people queued for the book signing.

When the officer approached Hudson to intervene, Hudson allegedly punched him twice in the stomach area.

Hudson was arrested on battery charges. He reportedly has a criminal record that includes an attempted murder conviction in 1991. In a Wednesday court appearance, Hudson pled not guilty to the charges and was ordered to be held on $25,000 bail.

Elizabeth Smart is a child welfare advocate who was the victim of a notorious 2002 kidnapping that sparked a media frenzy. Smart was snatched from her Utah home at age 14 and was found nine months later with her abductors, wearing a disguise.

Smart’s spokesperson issued a statement commending the officer’s intervention, saying that Smart  “is grateful for law enforcement and Indiana State University’s quick response and that the event and her work continued undeterred.”


Photo: Associated Press