• 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

  • Politics

    Citizen lobbyists frustrated by short-notice cancellation of session Thursday

    by Liz Raines on Apr 28, 21:04

    The Alaska House was supposed to take up an omnibus criminal justice reform bill, Senate Bill 91, in a floor session Thursday morning, but the meeting was cancelled with less than an hour’s notice. A House Majority Press Secretary said the latest version of the bill wasn’t finished being drafted after amendments were made in […]

  • News

    Construction worker remembered as one of dozens killed on the job in Alaska

    by Heather Hintze on Apr 28, 20:39

    More than two dozen workers in Alaska were killed on the job in 2015. On Thursday, people gathered at the Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial to honor those men and women for Workers Memorial Day. “All I can say is that I will never forget Samuel, and you and your family and I vow and our staff vows […]

  • News

    Citing dry conditions, AFD encourages free home inspection program

    by Eric Ruble on Apr 28, 20:24

    Captain Joe Albrecht has spent 38 years with the Anchorage Fire Department. He said this year’s fire danger is ”unprecedented,” especially on Anchorage’s hillside. “It’s a fact that sooner or later there’s going to be a large incident and there’s not much the Anchorage Fire Department is going to be able to do when it happens,” […]

  • Lifestyle

    Fewer U.S. teens are having babies; here’s why

    by CBS News on Apr 28, 18:39

    Birth rates among teens in the U.S. have dropped dramatically since 2006, according to a new report, and there are a lot of factors behind the trend, including a steep decline in births by black and Hispanic teens. Births to all American teenagers have plummeted by more than 40 percent, said Lisa Romero of the U.S. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Numbers don’t lie: Alaskans are crazy about their chickens

    by Carolyn Hall on Apr 28, 18:18

    A small tract of land can yield quite a crop for an ambitious backyard homesteader such as Mountain View resident Phil Cannon. His garden produces all the staples: carrots, potatoes, beets and lettuce. “We try to grow as much as we can for vegetables. This year we’re gonna let the kids grow their own sections […]

  • Politics

    Negotiators reach deal on excess power program earnings

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 17:21

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement for use of any excess earnings from a fund set up to help rural areas faced with high electricity costs. A conference committee Thursday agreed to legislation that would allow for 70 percent of excess earnings from the Power Cost Equalization endowment fund to […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Why the fiscal gap should be fixed now

    by John Tracy on Apr 28, 16:56

    Back in October, when I first began these commentaries, I said that lawmakers would be unlikely to levy an income tax, or use earnings from the Permanent Fund to help balance the budget. It didn’t take much of a crystal ball to make that prediction going into an election year, even though it was possible […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage man admits to stealing mail, credit cards from Hillside residents

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 28, 16:01

    An Anchorage man pleaded guilty to charges of mail theft and credit card fraud in federal court Wednesday, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Evan Mullen, 28, admitted to stealing mail and packages from multiple homes in Anchorage’s Hillside neighborhood from December 2015 until his arrest in February 2016. His main target […]