At 7:13 a.m. Wednesday at the Franklin Regional Senior High School near Pittsburgh, twenty students were injured in a mass stabbing as they headed to class. According to officials, the 16-year-old male suspect, went to the school armed with two knives.
Nate Moore, 15, was slashed in the face and required 11 inches. Moore described the attack as "really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face. It spurted up on my forehead."
The suspect “had the same expression on his face that he has every day, which was the freakiest part," Moore said. "He wasn't saying anything. He didn't have any anger on his face. It was just a blank expression."
According to witnesses, the attacker was ultimately restrained by assistant principal Sam King. Ian Griffiths, an 18-year-old senior who was inside the school during the stabbing, said he saw King talking to the suspect. The suspect stabbed security guard William "Buzz" Yakshe and then the principal jumped on the pair. Griffiths said he tried to hold down the suspect’s hands and arms, but King told him to go to an ambulance. By the time Griffiths returned, the suspect was detained.
“We don’t know what led up to this,” said Murrysville police chief Thomas Seefeld.
One female student told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “I saw this kid in all black running down the hallway, stabbing. He was just stabbing everybody that was in his way.”
As for the victims, not all 20 were injured by stabbing but the majority were. Three are in “extremely critical condition,” said Westmoreland County public safety spokesman Dan Stevens shortly after 2 p.m., though all victims are expected to survive. Yakshe is "doing fine," according to Stevens. "He's more upset than anything else over what happened because these are his kids."
The school district, which has about 3,600 students from Murrysville, Export, and Delmont, issued a bulletin on its website shortly after the incident saying: “A critical incident has occurred at the high school. All elementary schools are canceled, the middle school and high school students are secure.”
Pennsylania Governor Tom Corbett said in a statement, “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.”
According to the school director Roberta Cook, the district has done training for mass casualty events, however most have focused on active shooters, not somebody wielding a knife.
However, as in most of these events, there were heroes. As mentioned before, the school’s principal reportedly tackled the suspect. And one victim, Nate Scimio, seen tweeting a selfie from the hospital, was the one who pulled the fire alarm and screamed when he was stabbed to save others.
A female student told USA Today that the suspect, who she described as “really shy” and “always kept to himself” wasn’t targeting anybody in particular.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reportedly been called in to question the suspect. While rare, mass stabbing attacks do occur in the U.S. Nearly a year ago to the day, 14 people were wounded at Lone Star Community College in Texas after a man went from building to building stabbing people.