• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 57s

Multiple people stabbed at western Pennsylvania high school

By CBS/AP 12:53 PM April 9, 2014
MURRYSVILLE, Pa. –

Flailing away with two knives, a 16-year-old boy with a “blank expression” stabbed and slashed 19 students and a police officer in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him.

At least five students were critically wounded, including a boy who was on a ventilator after a knife pierced his liver, missing his heart and aorta by only millimeters, doctors said.

The rampage – which came after years in which U.S. schools have geared much of their emergency planning toward mass shootings, not stabbings – set off a screaming stampede, left blood on the floor and walls, and brought teachers rushing to help the victims.

Investigators haven’t determined a motive, but Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld said they’re looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before, reports CBS Pittsburgh. Seefeld didn’t specify whether the suspect reportedly received or made the call.

Police didn’t immediately release the name of the suspect, who was taken into custody and treated for a minor hand wound.

The attack unfolded just minutes before the start of classes at 1,200-student Franklin Regional High School, 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. Police said it was over in just minutes.

Witnesses said the boy with the knives at first tackled a freshman and stabbed him in the belly, then got up and ran wildly down the hall, slashing other students.

Nate Moore, 15, said he saw the first attack and was going to try to break it up when the boy got up and slashed his face, requiring 11 stitches.

“It was really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face. It spurted up on my forehead,” he said.

The attacker “had the same expression on his face that he has every day, which was the freakiest part,” Moore said. “He wasn’t saying anything. He didn’t have any anger on his face. It was just a blank expression.”

Doctors said they expected all the victims to survive, despite large and deep puncture wounds to the abdomen in some cases. The wounded campus police officer was released.

A local hospital told CBS Pittsburgh that at least one 17-year-old victim is on life support, and in critical condition. Doctors say it appears a large knife was used in the stabbings, causing damage, but missing the teen’s heart.

A different local hospital said that one-student applied pressure to an injured classmate, possibly saving student’s life.

Authorities credited an assistant principal with subduing the assailant, though they did not describe the end of the attack in detail. Students identified the assistant principal as Sam King.

A student, Ian Griffith, said he saw the school police officer confront the student, who then stabbed the officer. King then tackled the boy, Griffith told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

King’s son told The Associated Press that his father was treated at a hospital, though authorities have said he was not wounded by the knife.

“He says he’s OK. He’s a tough cookie and sometimes hides things, but I believe he’s OK,” Zack King said. The boy added: “I’m proud of him.”

Mia Meixner, 16, said the initial assault touched off a “stampede of kids” yelling, “Run! Get out of here! Someone has a knife!”

Michael Float, 18, said he had just gotten to school when he saw “blood all over the floor” and smeared on the wall near the main entrance. Then he saw a wounded student.

“He had his shirt pulled up and he was screaming, ‘Help! Help!'” Float said. “He had a stab wound right at the top right of his stomach, blood pouring down.”

Float said he saw a teacher applying pressure to the wound of another student.

Someone, possibly a student, pulled a fire alarm after seeing some of the stabbings, the police chief said. Although that created chaos, Seefeld said, it emptied out the school more quickly, and “that was a good thing that that was done.”

Also, a girl with “an amazing amount of composure” applied pressure to a schoolmate’s wounds and probably kept the victim from bleeding to death, said Dr. Mark Rubino at Forbes Regional Medical Center.

Public safety and school officials said an emergency plan worked as well as could be expected. The district conducted an emergency exercise three months ago and a full-scale drill about a year ago.

“We haven’t lost a life and I think that’s what we have to keep in mind,” said county public safety spokesman Dan Stevens.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Petition circling to stop Mat-Su school district from outsourcing custodial, cafeteria positions

    by Sierra Starks on Mar 27, 21:00

    Faced with a $10 million budget deficit, cuts sometimes have to be made beyond the classroom, says Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) assistant superintendent Luke Fulp. As a “viable option to help reduce ongoing expenses and financial obligations,” the district is looking to outsource its custodian and nutrition service workers. In February, the MSBSD voted 4 to 3 […]

  • News

    Be ready: Expert warns to be prepared before a tsunami strikes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 20:08

    It’s Tsunami Preparedness Week, a reminder to be ready in case a natural disaster like the 1964 earthquake and tsunamis happens again. Paul Whitmore, the director of the National Tsunami Warning Center, says the week’s events include a test of the tsunami warning system. He said in 1964, most of the victims had no warning of […]

  • Politics

    Lawmaker introduces tax on opioid prescriptions

    by Liz Raines on Mar 27, 19:45

    Last month, Gov. Bill Walker declared Alaska’s opioid epidemic a disaster. Now, a member of the Alaska House is proposing a tax on prescription drugs to help remedy the issue. Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins’ House Bill 196 raises revenue directed toward treatment and rehabilitation programs for opioid abuse. At $.01 per morphine milligram, Kreiss-Tomkins says the goal isn’t […]

  • Politics

    Senate calls for 5% education cut, balks at putting it in budget bill for public critique

    by Liz Raines on Mar 27, 19:45

    Public testimony on the Alaska Senate’s version of the state budget is closed, but Alaskans still haven’t seen cuts made to one of the biggest pieces — education. For weeks, the Republican majority has called for a 5-percent cut to the state’s four largest departments: Health and Social Services, Transportation, the University of Alaska, and […]

  • News

    Father and son look back at 1964 earthquake

    by Melissa Frey on Mar 27, 19:21

    It’s been 53 years since an earthquake changed the landscape of downtown Anchorage. It was recent enough to remember, but long enough ago to learn some important lessons along the way. In the last five decades, the scientific and engineering community has used what it’s learned from the ’64 quake to make buildings stronger and safer. The ground […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bureau of Land Management announces digital Alaska maps for outdoor excursions

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 18:51

    The Bureau of Land Management is making it easier to take maps into the backcountry. The agency launched a series of digital maps that can be downloaded to a smart phone or tablet through the Avenza Maps app. The first eight maps range from the Steese Conservation Area to the Unalakleet National Wild River. “There’s also […]

  • Politics

    Meet the candidates: District 3 – Seat E – West Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Mar 27, 16:31

    KTVA invited every registered candidate running in the upcoming Anchorage municipal election to an on-camera interview at our studios to discuss the following topics: Balancing the budget Public safety Introducing new taxes Addressing homelessness in Anchorage Plans for the future We also asked each candidate to submit a 300-word biography, each of which has been […]

  • News

    Mat-Su school board president says superintendent’s resignation was for personal reasons

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 16:23

    Last updated at 8:45 p.m. on Monday, March 27 The school board held an emergency meeting Monday evening to discuss the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) superintendent’s “pending immediate resignation.” Superintendent Gene Stone’s resignation was not initially announced by the district, but was outlined in a resolution considered at the emergency meeting. Stone’s resignation comes only a […]