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20 injured in knife attack at Franklin Regional High School

April 9, 2014 8:12 AM Pittsburgh Post Gazette

By Molly Born and Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Twenty people were injured -- four seriously -- in multiple stabbings this morning inside Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville. Most of the injured were students.

A witness said the male suspect, a student, was tackled by assistant principal Sam King. 

Westmoreland County public safety spokesman Dan Stevens said the student is in custody and was being questioned by Murrysville police and Westmoreland County detectives.

Police said the suspect is 16 years old.

Mr. Stevens said the suspect used a knife in the attacks, but he didn't say what kind or why. None of the injuries, many of them slashes, were life-threatening, he said.

Those seriously injured were flown to hospitals by medical helicopter, including eight people who were taken to Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville. Seven of those injured were between the ages of 15 and 17; one was an adult, according to Forbes trauma surgeon Christoph Kaufman, who described the injuries as ranging “superficial to some quite serious.”

Reese Jackson, president and CEO of Forbes, said one of the victims may have saved the life of another victim.

“A surgeon came out and congratulated one of the victims by saying she had saved the person’s life by applying pressure to the person’s wound,” Mr. Jackson said.

One 15-year-old girl was flown from the school to Allegheny General Hospital, where she is being evaluated for admittance Hospital spokesman Dan Laurent said the girl arrived in fair condition and was conscious and alert.

PG interactive map: School campus
(Click image for larger version)

Students are also being treated at UPMC East and UPMC Presbyterian.

According to state Department of Education, Franklin Regional Senior High School has an enrollment of 1,222.

Just before 7:15 a.m., a school resource officer asked for medical assistance at the school for a stabbing. The students were injured in several first-floor classrooms and in the hallways before the classes started, Mr. Stevens said.

Franklin Regional junior Anna Davis, 16, said she and a friend were in the hallway when a group of panic-stricken boys "sprinted by."

"I just heard this screaming, and somebody said, 'Somebody has a knife,'" she said.

She and her friend ran to the middle school "as fast as we possibly could," where the friend's father met them and took them home.

School director Roberta Cook said the district has done extensive training for a mass casualty at the schools.

"This is the training that you hope you never have to use. But everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. The administrators and the first-responders are doing what they need to do," Mrs. Cook said.

Although she had not received any official information as a board members, she said other reports she heard indicating the incident happened before classes started means that it happened at one of the most vulnerable times of day.

"Once the students are in the building and in classes we can go into lockdown. But before school starts it's hard to completely secure the building," Mrs. Cook said.

Most of the training done in the district focused on an active shooter, not someone with a knife, she said.

When Ms. Cook heard that someone pulled the fire alarm after the stabbing started, she said that action would have followed the training.

"This is terribly unfortunate. I hope that all of the students are OK," Mrs. Cook said.

Franklin Regional High School has no metal detectors, but it has a reputation as a relatively safe school. Its most recent state Safe Schools report shows 17 reportable incidents in 2012-13, none of them involving weapons. The report notes that there were no arrests and no incidents involving local police. The most common reportable incident was fights, for which there were eight.

Parents of the injured students are being contacted. Parents of other students are asked to go to Heritage Elementary, also in Murrysville, to pick up their children.

Police, emergency crews and school buses lined the entrance to the school this morning. A stretcher was loaded into an ambulance around 8:15 a.m.

On its website, the school district said, "A critical incident has occurred at the high school. All elementary schools are canceled, the middle school and high school students are secure. Additional information will be released as soon as possible. Please keep our campus clear of traffic."

The FBI is on the scene.

First Published April 9, 2014 7:40 AM

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/westmoreland/2014/04/09/Multiple-...


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/westmoreland/2014/04/09/Multiple-...

 

Views: 110

Comment by Robin York on April 9, 2014 at 9:07am

And yet education reformers would raise the mandatory school attendance age to 18 nationwide. Here's one analysis of a Massachusetts measure - http://www.hslda.org/cms/?q=bill/house-bill-524-raise-compulsory-sc...

Pressure cooker not sufficient if only working on students for 16 years, the age of the assailant here. PA requires school attendance to 17 I believe. Not excusing the abhorrent behavior - just hoping for some sane response such as ending compulsory attendance. More likely the schools will be more like prisons instead.

Comment by Harry Mathews on April 9, 2014 at 8:38pm

Prisons indeed-prisons of the mind

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