A student flashing two knives went on a stabbing rampage through the classrooms and halls of a high school outside Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning, authorities said. At least 19 students and a security guard were hurt, some with life-threatening injuries.
The suspect, a 16-year-old sophomore, was in custody and being questioned by police, authorities said. His motive was unclear, said Dan Stevens, a Westmoreland County emergency management spokesman.
The student was “flashing two knives around” as he moved through the classrooms and a first-floor hallway, said Thomas Seefeld, the Murrysville police chief. A principal tackled the stabber, he said. The security guard suffered a stomach wound.
The attack happened at Franklin Regional High School, in the suburb of Murrysville, just after doors opened for the day. A student described panic in the halls.
“I was walking into the school and a stampede of people were running after me,” said the student, Kari Lee, who said several of her friends had been knifed. “They were screaming, ‘Go to your cars! Go to your cars! Someone is stabbing people!’”
Seven teenagers and an adult were taken to Forbes Regional Hospital, Dr. Chris Kauffman, the trauma director there, told NBC News. The seven were stabbed in the chest, back and abdomen, he said. He characterized some of the injuries as life-threatening but said everyone was expected to live.
At least three students were in surgery. Others were undergoing CT scans and X-rays and could require surgery later, Kauffman said.
“None of these are superficial wounds,” he told reporters. “These are all significant stabbing wounds, every one.”
One girl may have saved the life of one of the stabbed by applying pressure to his wounds, hospital officials said. The girl was not hurt.
“She displayed an amazing amount of composure to help that friend, who was having significant bleeding,” said Dr. Mark Rubino, a surgeon at Forbes hospital.