Ice-skating instructor stabbed in random attack outside of Columbus ice rink

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COLUMBUS, Ind. –  An ice-skating instructor is now out of the hospital after being stabbed.

34-year-old Emma Baxter is an instructor at Hamilton Center Ice Arena. She spent years with Disney on Ice, instructing in Spain and she’s popular with her students in Columbus.

“She is wonderful; she’s great with the kids. we actually have kids from outside of the Bartholomew County area that request her, so they come from outside of the county to just be with Emma,” said Mark Jones, director of Columbus Parks and Rec.

Around 6:30 on Friday morning, Emma showed up to work for a lesson.  She never made it inside. An encounter with a stranger turned violent in the parking lot.

“The man approached her in the parking lot, asked her for a cigarette and when she told him no, she got back into her car and tried to get away. However, the suspect crashed into her vehicle a short time later in a stolen car,” said Lt. Matt Harris, with the Columbus Police Department.

Police have identified the suspect as Ryan Halligan.  Detectives say after the crash, Halligan stabbed Emma.

“She even dialed 911 to get officers there. One of the saving graces was this happened right around our shift change and we had a CPD patrol officer here just moments after getting the 911 call,” said Lt. Harris.

Police say Halligan took off as soon as officers arrived.  Detectives found Halligan nearby hiding by a home and arrested him.

Park officials are now looking to possibly add extra security.  

“Do we need extra lighting? Do we need extra security cameras? So, we’re looking at all those options,” said Jones.

The ice rink is a busy place for families and young skaters. Investigators say Emma and Halligan don’t know each other, calling this a completely random attack.

“It’s something we don’t often see here in Columbus. Our violent crime rate is less than half the national average, so incidents like this are something we don’t often see let alone at one of our parks,” said Lt. Harris.

After spending several days in the hospital, Emma is now home recovering.  Her ice-skating family realizes she has a long road ahead, but they want her to know she’s missed.

“We love her. I know her students miss her, and we can’t wait to get her back,” said Jones.

Halligan’s charges will be up to the prosecutor’s office.

If you’re interested in helping Emma with medical bills and support, an account has been set up at Centra Credit Union located at 2020 26th Street in Columbus.

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