Wednesday, April 9, 2014
20 injured in two-knife stabbing rampage at Pennsylvania high school; suspect in custody
Twenty people were injured during a stabbing rampage at a Pennsylvania high school early Wednesday, authorities said.
A 16-year-old male sophomore brandishing two knives spread terror before the school day could begin in several classrooms and a hallway on the first floor of Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville — a typically peaceful community about 18 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Nineteen students and an adult security guard were injured, officials said. That school officer subdued the knifeman with the help of Assistant Principal Sam King.
Several of the students suffered life-threatening stab wounds, but all are expected to survive.
"It’s really a traumatic experience for everyone concerned," Reese Jackson, the CEO and president of Forbes Hospital, told the Daily News. "We have eight families here. We are really trying to attend to their emotional and spiritual needs."
Jackson, who lives just three blocks from the school, emphasized how tight-knit their community is. An obstetrician on staff watched as children he delivered returned with stab wounds.
Mark Rubino, chief medical officer for Forbes Hospital, said the worst wounds were "deep, penetrating injuries."
Rubino explained that the slashes appeared to follow a pattern. The knifeman aimed for the lower abdomen causing severe damage to internal organs.
"The critical nature of these injuries really demanded an acute response," Rubino said.
Most of the other injuries were "stab wounds to extremities," according to Dan Stevens, deputy emergency management coordinator for Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety. Others were scrapes and bruises.
Police and paramedics rushed to the scene in Murrysville after the first call came into 911 about 7:13 a.m.
A male suspect, who was treated for a minor hand wound, is in custody and being interrogated by police. Investigators have not determined a motive.
He has not been identified yet.
Mia Meixner, a sophomore at the school, witnessed the attack. She told USA Today that the suspect was “really shy" and "always kept to himself."
"He didn't talk to many people," she said.
Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld described the scene as vast and said it could take several days to process.
Seefeld noted how important it was that a student pulled a fire alarm after the violence broke out. It created a chaos and spurred students to flee the school to safety.
"The fire alarm being pulled probably assisted with the evacuation of the school and that was a good thing that that was done," he said.
Classmates identified the student who pulled the alarm as Nate Scimio, who later tweeted out a selfie from the hospital with a bandage around his arm.
But he was far from the only hero.
Jackson said that one teen girl, whose mother is a health care professional, applied pressure to the wounds of several students and possibly saved their lives.
“What a tremendous act of courage,” Jackson told The News. “She talked to some of the physicians here and they were very complimentary of her actions.”
After the attack, the high school students were evacuated to the district's middle school. Parents were then told to report to the town's elementary school to reunite with their kids.
Some parents learned that their children were so badly wounded they needed to be airlifted from the scene.
"We have eight patients being taken into Forbes. Their ages range from 15 to 60," Jesse Miller, communication officer for Forbes Hospital, told the Daily News. "I can also confirm that we have another patient being taken to our parent hospital, Allegheny General Hospital."
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center treated a dozen patients. Five have been discharged.
Morris Hundley, the father of a high school student, moved to Murrysville so he could raise his daughter in a safe environment. He told CBS Pittsburgh he spoke to her daughter over the phone. Her best friend was among the victims.
“She was just frantic. I never heard her talk like that,” he said to the station. “That’s why I got off the phone right away and came here as soon as I could.”
Hundley added said that his first order of business is to give his daughter a big hug as soon as he sees her.
SOURCE: DAILY NEWS