A George Mason University professor was stabbed to death in his Oakton home near Vienna Wednesday night, Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a press conference today (Thursday).
Michael Buschmann, 59, was found dead in the house in the 9800 block of Palace Green Way after police received several calls reporting his 26-year-old son Axel Buschmann walking around shirtless, covered in blood, and holding a knife.
Police spoke with Axel and de-escalated the situation in what the chief called one of the best examples of how to handle such a situation.
“He was armed with a knife and one of the veteran police officers was talking to him the whole time and he eventually dropped the knife and we were able to safely bring him into custody,” Davis said, referring to body camera footage. “They did an unbelievably great job deescalating…It was textbook because that could have had a tragic ending as well.”
Based on statements that Axel made to police, officers went to the home and discovered his father unresponsive.
Axel also had a stab wound to his torso that he is still being treated for at a hospital, police said. He is being charged with second-degree murder, Davis said.
Buschmann was chair of George Mason’s Department of Bioengineering and Nanomedicine, Davis said. He hails from Montreal and went to MIT with degrees in medical engineering and medical physics. His research led him to launch four biotech companies.
GMU Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Paul Allvin said Michael was recruited to the college in 2017 and recently was working on technology that would make mRNA vaccines less costly.
“We are crushed and anguished by this tragic news,” he said, adding that Michael’s acquaintances described him as “relentlessly inquisitive.”
He said the university is focused on how to help those who knew him and asks the community for its support.
“In time we will have more to say about how we will as a community mourn his death and celebrate his life and reflect upon his contributions,” he said.
Davis said he is having trouble wrapping his mind around the number of homicides committed by adult children on parents or family members.
Reporting an increase in homicides in 2021, Fairfax County police cited an unusually high number of adult children killing parents and other family members. Since 2021, police say six people have been killed by their sons. Another homicide involved a sister being charged with killing her brother.
“Adult son on parent homicides — that’s what’s driving our homicides,” Davis said. “That’s something that continues to plague the community.”
He’s previously spoken on how despair and isolation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic has affected family dynamics, though he said he doesn’t know to what extent that played a role in this homicide.
But he said the department is focused on figuring out the “why” behind the pattern and seeing what can be done to address ongoing family disputes before they turn deadly.
“The approach we have to take as a society is are we doing enough with intervention and mental health,” he said.
He said the county is committed to increasing the number of crisis intervention trained officers.
“I know the Board of Supervisors is on the verge of making a budgetary commitment to us so we can add several more crisis intervention trained officers to our co-responder program,” he said.
Photo via FCPD/Facebook
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