MURRYSVILLE, Pennsylvania (AP) — A student armed with a knife went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning, leaving as many as 20 people injured, including four students who suffered serious wounds, authorities said.
The suspect, a male student, was taken into custody and being questioned by police. All of the victims were expected to survive, doctors said.
Not all of the 20 injured at Franklin Regional High School were cut by the knife, though most were, Westmoreland County emergency management spokesman Dan Stevens said. Some suffered scrapes and cuts in the ensuing mayhem that broke out at about 7:15 a.m. at the school in Murrysville, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh.
One victim was an adult, authorities said, but none of the names of the victims was being released.
Dr. Chris Kaufman, the trauma director at Forbes Regional Medical Center, the closest hospital, said two victims were in surgery and one was awaiting surgery. All three were all stabbed in the torso, abdomen, chest or back, which he called “significant injuries.”
Seven teens and one adult were listed in serious condition at Forbes Hospital, West Penn Allegheny Health System spokeswoman Jennifer Davis said. They ranged in age from 15 to 60, and some were in surgery, she said. A ninth victim, a 15-year-old girl, was in good condition at another hospital, Davis said.
Twelve of the victims were sent to four hospitals, a spokeswoman said. She said hospital officials were still gathering information on their conditions and identities, including the patients’ ages.
The suspect was being questioned by county detectives and police. Stevens said the suspect used a knife, though he didn’t say what kind and said it wasn’t immediately clear why the student attacked the others.
One student told WTAE he saw “students holding their stomachs, bleeding.” That student wasn’t sure how the assailant was stopped, but said at some point, a fire alarm was activated and said, “As soon as we heard the fire alarm was pulled we went outside.”
Speaking outside the school, Morris Hundley said his 14-year-old daughter, Morriah, called him Wednesday morning in tears. Hundley came to the school still wearing his slippers, hoping for more information.
“My first thoughts were I think we need to home school now that this has happened,” Hundley said. “The words can’t describe how I feel. I’m just thinking of the victims.”
Gov. Tom Corbett ordered state police to assist local investigators.
“I was shocked and saddened upon learning of the events that occurred this morning as students arrived at Franklin Regional High School. As a parent and grandparent, I can think of nothing more distressing than senseless violence against children. My heart and prayers go out to all the victims and their families,” Corbett said in a statement.
School officials and Murrysville police didn’t immediately return calls seeking further details, but the school issued a bulletin on its website saying: “A critical incident has occurred at the high school. All elementary schools are canceled, the middle school and high school students are secure.”