• 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

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

  • DayBreak

    Story Time with Aunt Phil, Nov. 30

    by Daybreak Staff on Nov 30, 9:14

    ANCHORAGE – One-hundred-twenty years ago today, religious history was made in the Last Frontier. Peter Trimble Rowe was consecrated as the state’s first Episcopal bishop. He arrived from Canada, and traveled by dog team, boat and snowshoes to establish Alaska’s Episcopal churches during his decades-long tenure. Laurel Downing Bill, author of the “Aunt Phil’s Trunk” […]

  • News

    Texas agency helps seek owner of lighter bought in Alaska

    by Associated Press on Nov 30, 8:53

    A Texas sheriff’s office has joined the hunt for the owner of a cigarette lighter used by a deputy more than 50 years ago but recently purchased in Alaska. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office on Monday posted a photo of the lighter on its Facebook page. Sheriff’s officials in San Antonio are checking the records […]

  • Lifestyle

    Researchers in Alaska try to find cause of chickadee beak deformity

    by Daniella Rivera on Nov 30, 8:04

    Researchers in Anchorage are trying to figure out what’s causing beak deformities in black-capped chickadees and other species of birds in Alaska. “The beaks can grow in different directions, so it affects the ability to come and pick up a seed or also access food from a feeder, just because the beaks are all twisted […]

  • News

    Seward Highway reopened after head-on collision in Girdwood area

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 30, 7:47

    An injury crash closed the Seward Highway near the Alyeska Highway early Monday morning, state transportation officials say. According to Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters, a southbound Jeep Cherokee lost control when rounding a corner and slid into the northbound lane, hitting a Toyota Camry head-on. The drivers — and the only occupants in […]

  • News

    Anchorage Fire dispatch coaches 911 callers through CPR to save lives

    by Sierra Starks on Nov 30, 7:37

    Stephenie Wolf says having to dial 911 after a loved one suffers cardiac arrest is stressful, to say the least. “It’s the worst day of their life, and they’re not trained to call 911,” said Wolf, lead dispatcher for the Anchorage Fire Department. In her experience, Wolf says a lot of people think the dispatcher is […]

  • Lifestyle

    Coloring books for adults: Wasilla woman creates unusual way to unwind

    by Eric Ruble on Nov 30, 6:50

    Brittney Kauffman spends her weekdays as a medical assistant at a neurologist’s office. In her free time, she’s an artist. Her creative interests fill a wide spectrum; she has spent time painting, crocheting and making jewelry. Her latest ambition, however, is making coloring books for adults. “A lot of people these days don’t stop to […]

  • News

    Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates cultural visionaries

    by Liz Raines on Nov 29, 13:40

    The Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrated its sixth annual Visionary Awards Saturday night, as part of Alaska Native Heritage Month. Organizers say the goal was to showcase individuals that nurture and promote culture in their own unique way that is enticing to younger generations. Five Native Alaskan artists — Byron Nicholai, Samuel Johns, Allison Warden, […]

  • News

    Quiltmakers donate patchwork to benefit Alaska’s foster children

    by Eric Ruble on Nov 29, 12:11

    On Saturday, about 100 quiltmakers decided to donate their hard work in an effort to help others. A total of 217 quilts were on display at the University Center mall. All were up for sale via a silent auction to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA. The organization’s Alaska chapter helps abused and neglected […]