A George Mason University professor was fatally stabbed at his home in Vienna, Virginia, and the man's son is facing charges in his killing, police say.
Fairfax County police and George Mason University officials identified the victim as 59-year-old Dr. Michael Buschmann.
Buschmann had a "long list of credentials and lifetime achievements that are beyond impressive," said Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis. Buschmann was the chair of GMU's department of bioengineering and nanomedicine.
Police say he was fatally stabbed by his son, 26-year-old Axel Buschmann, at his home Wednesday night in the 9800 block of Palace Green Way.
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There appeared to have been a domestic incident in which the victim and another man had a fight, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Department said earlier Thursday.
Fairfax County Second Lt. Erin Weeks said several people called 911 about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, saying they saw someone walking down a street who was covered in blood.
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Officers arrived and found the younger Buschmann with lacerations to his neck. He was armed with a knife and was incoherent.
Fairfax County officers were eventually able to speak with him, de-escalated the situation and took him to a hospital, authorities said. They said they didn't know whether those injuries were self-inflicted.
"While at the hospital, they were able to identify who he was, which led them back here," Lt. Daniel Spital said outside the home. "They looked inside the home. Inside the home, they noticed that there was a male face-down and appeared to be unresponsive."
Police pronounced Michael Buschmann dead at the scene. He died of several stab wounds, Davis said.
Axel Buschmann is facing a charge of second-degree murder. He is currently hospitalized and will be taken into custody after medical treatment.
Davis said Thursday that authorities were not ready to discuss a possible motive.
Dr. Buschmann's wife was not at home at the time of the incident, police said.
"We are crushed and anguished by this shocking news of Dr. Buschmann's tragic death," said GMU Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Paul Allvin.
Buschmann had recently been working on technology that would make mRNA vaccines, such as COVID-19 vaccines, less costly, with reduced side effects and more widely available.
"We did lose a great mind, a great teacher, and by all accounts, a good and decent human being," Allvin said.
Dr. Buschmann earned a Ph.D. in medical engineering and medical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992, the university said. He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from the University of Saskatchewan, according to a bio on GMU's website.
Buschmann was recruited by GMU in 2017, Allvin said. The family previously lived in Massachusetts, and Dr. Buschmann was originally from Montreal, Davis said.
In 2019, police responded to the Vienna home for a matter that was not a domestic incident, authorities said.
The family previously lost another son. Police were not certain of that son's cause of death but said it was not from a similar incident, they said.
"We're aware that the other son lost his life, and the details of it, we're still attempting to determine what they were," Davis said. "But not similar to this particular incident."
Fairfax County has seen six homicide victims slain by their adult sons since the beginning of 2021, Davis said.
"That's something that continues to plague the community," he said.
"The logical question is, 'Why?' We're thinking really hard about that," he said.
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