20 Students Hurt in Stabbing Incident at Pennsylvania High School, Sophomore in Custody

(CNN) — A male sophomore went on a stabbing spree at his high school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, early Wednesday, the town’s police chief said.

At least 20 people at Franklin Regional Senior High School, about 15 miles east of downtown Pittsburgh, were injured, and the alleged attacker is in custody, Thomas Seefeld said.

The violence happened in classrooms and a hallway, said Dan Stevens, a spokesman for Westmoreland County Emergency Management.

A school principal had “an interaction” with the suspect, and a school resource officer was able to handcuff him, Seefeld said. The 16-year-old is being treated for injuries to his hands, the chief said.

Photo: KDKA/Pittsburgh

Photo: KDKA/Pittsburgh

Mark Drear, vice president of the security company for the school, said one of his officers was stabbed. The school had three security officers and a full-time police officer Wednesday morning, he said.

A fire alarm that was pulled during the attack probably helped get more people out of the school during an evacuation order. Seefeld said that students were running everywhere, and there was “chaos and panic.”

At one point, a female student applied pressure to the wounds of one of the male victims, possibly helping to save his life, said Dr. Mark Rubino, chief medical officer at Forbes Regional Hospital in nearby Monroeville, Pennsylvania, where seven teenagers and one adult were taken.

That male teen helped by a fellow student was one of three teens taken into surgery at Forbes.

The adult being treated there was not stabbed; he’s suffering from an unspecified medical condition, according to hospital officials.

The teens’ injuries are “quite serious,” and “some are clearly life-threatening,” said Dr. Chris Kaufmann of Forbes Regional.

They were stabbed in their torso, abdomen, chest and back areas, and two people were sent to surgery immediately after arriving, he said. Those two patients had low blood pressure, he said.

The teens who are undergoing surgery suffered knife wounds, most to the lower abdomen, Rubino said.

Physicians are evaluating other patients to see if they need surgery as well, Kaufmann said.

Rubino said he expects all the teens to live, noting that the strength of their youth gives them a greater chance of survival. But “I do want to stress the critical nature of their injuries,” he cautioned.

Eleven victims were taken to four University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals, UPMC spokesman Cindy McGrath said. One was sent to UPMC Presbyterian; four were taken to Children’s Hospital; one was taken to UPMC Mercy; and five were taken to UPMC East. She did not have ages or conditions of the victims.

A doctor who treated six stabbing victims said most of them didn’t immediately realize how they were injured. “They just felt pain and noticed they were bleeding. Almost all of them said they didn’t see anyone coming at them,” Dr. Timothy VanFleet, chief of emergency medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield. “It apparently was a crowded hallway and they were going about their business, and then just felt pain and started bleeding.”

The students who were hurt range in age from 14 to 17, Stevens said. All of the injuries are stabbing-related, such as lacerations or punctures, and there were no guns involved, he said.

A message on the Franklin Regional School District’s website said all of its elementary schools were closed after the incident, and “the middle school and high school students are secure.”

Franklin Regional Senior High will be closed “over the next several days,” district school Superintendent Gennaro Piraino said. The district’s middle school and elementary schools will be open Thursday, and counseling will be available for the whole district, he said.

Information on what led to the stabbings and the conditions of the injured are still unfolding.

On Wednesday morning, students were being released to their parents, Stevens said. Shortly before 10 a.m. ET, CNN affiliate KDKA reported that some parents were beginning to be reunited with their children.

Bill Rehkopf, a KDKA radio host and Franklin Regional High School graduate, reported on air that he was shocked by the stabbings.

He kept thinking, “It doesn’t happen here, it can’t happen here,” he said.

He said he was seeing parents showing up at the school and an increasing media presence. Parents appear to be calm, he said. Another KDKA reporter said she spoke with a parent who said she received a cell phone call from her daughter, who told her mother that “something bad” happened and that she needed to be picked up.

CNN first learned of the stabbings on Twitter.

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

25 comments

  • Speedracer

    Very sad day. In no way am I trying to poke or make fun as this isn’t a joking matter, but what is Obama’s answer for this one?

  • Educator

    Really speedracer…..Obama??? He nor U have an answer to why these children attacked each other only they can answer that. Its a sad day in the country when our children have so much rage that they harm their peers and endanger others lives. and all you can say is what is the President of the United States answer. Let me give you an answer for President Obama…Pray for these children all over the world, reach out to them, teach them. Speedracer have you ever considered mentoring teens in your area? Remember it takes a village to raise a child. Praying for the faculty, staff and students at Franklin Regional Senior High School.

    • Michael

      I’m pretty sure Speedracer was referring to Obama’s gun control stances in the name of keeping our children “safe.”

    • Bonnie

      Right and well said. Why do some of you wan to blame the president for every thing that happens? Do you think that makes him look bad? No, it makes you look bad for being so ignorant!!! Please read what Educator had to say.

  • Teaching The Word

    Obama HAS created most of the Rage in this country. Educator, you must be a “Lib”. You say it “takes a village” to raise a child. Thats straight from Hilarious Clintons playbook. No, it takes Godly, responsible parents to raise a child in the fear and admonition of The Lord! In the 1960’s, the Bible was removed from public schools and the Devil moved in. Just thought i would “Educate” you a little.

  • therodman

    Well said Educator. Yes Speedracer, what does Obama have to do with this incident? So everything that happens bad in our country is Obama’s fault. Columbine and other schools tragedies took place long before Obama was even heard of. This is not an Obama, or any other president’s issue. This is a national identity issue that has resulted in the chaos and depravity that has plagued our nation for many years now. We have lost our identity as a nation born out of a belief of God and the Gospel of Christ. No President can or will solve our lawlessness and crime issues. It is not guns, knives, or any other weapon that is the issue. It is an issue of the heart of man. Only the love of God through Jesus can heal our nation’s woes.

    • Lover of Students

      Therodman, you are so right, we have lost our identity as a God fearing country and God seems to have decided to let us have what we thought we wanted. But he is still there, ready, willing and able to turn it around. My prayers goes out to everyone involved in this incicent. Yes including the young man. He has a soul and is important as well.

  • Ann Clement

    Very sad day. Hope all of the children get the medical care that they need and be able to be with their families.
    In my opinion the President is not to blame here. It could be that the teen was suffering from a mental disorder and may not have received the correct parental supervision in the home. It could be the results of certain video games that he was playing. One will never know.

    • Bonnie

      Why blame video games when it’s probably a mental disorder? One mother in a situation simular to this one knew her son had a mental disorder because the school had dismissed him because of it but she quit her job at the school because of it and instead of taking him for treatment took him to shooting range to practice shooting with him! That case was blamed on violent video games. You don’t know if this boy even played video games.

    • TruthLivesHere

      Wake Up, people like you are odd characters. In your mind, GUNS BAD, GUNS KILL!!! But the first thing you’d do if someone broke into your apparently unprotected home is call 911 and beg for someone WITH A GUN to come to your rescue.

  • Lover of Students

    It always amazes me how when tragedies like this happens there seems to be immediate response of “who’s to blame”. I too work a High School and I see kids everyday that has issues that goes unresolved until they finally explode. Please lets stop the blame game and get these kids the love, support and help that they so desperately need. I see kids being bullied and put down for things so trivial as the color or their hair or the type of cell phone or the lack of cell phone they have or don’t have. I agree that God is the answer. We are a country that was founded and built on the God principal and when we as a people go back to that principal only then will we see a change. When you see a child that may or may not be your own please reach out to them and let them know they are loved and they do have someone that cares.

  • God bless

    A lot of good points are written here and there is one thing I see in common that should really, seriously be taken to heart: God. Take your kids to church, teach them about Jesus, love them. Starting at a young age, say 5, a child longs for attention and strives to do their best. They want their parents to praise them. We live in a world where they have taken the bible out of school and even prayer out of school. But the truth is, God is still there. You can’t take God out of anything. He is our breath we breathe. He keeps our hearts beating. What if we still prayed in school? “Pray without ceasing”. They told Daniel to stop praying but he did it anyways.. And look what happened to him. God delivered! Why can’t that happen today?! I’m not a preacher or a teacher. I am a mom of 3, all under age 5. I have chosen to homeschool them because of all the violence and peer pressure at schools. It’s the same everywhere. I was bullied in school, had lots of two faced friends. I was a nobody. I never had both parents growing up. I didn’t even go to church regularly. But GOD had me. I wasn’t saved until I became an adult. I prayed for God to get me out of a bad situation and he did. My point is, God is still here. He still listens when we pray. He will answer. But we as parents have to teach our children how to handle problems like peer pressure. Pray for these kids. Anyone remember the girl who stood up for Christ and got shot for it? I truely believe that she is in heaven. Standing up for what’s right may be hard and scary but in the end, GOD will reign.

  • parent

    This conversation is not about placing blame! After the Sandyhook shooting the president was quick to blame guns for the tragedy, not the sick individual that was pulling the trigger. Obamas only objective was to advance his and other liberals anti gun stance. We don’t need to get rid of guns, knives, or any other inanimate objects that can be used to cause harm to people. We need to help the sick perpetrators who use these things to hurt people.

  • MAG

    Obama would say its sad day in the USA. Teaching the word what word are you teaching? At lease Obama will not have call out the name of all the dead people. Shoot 20 people and see how many will die , I bet more than 0

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