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Wednesday's Developments: Multiple Injuries in Knife Attack at Franklin Regional High School

Deanna Garcia
90.5 WESA

Stabbing Spree Leaves 22 Injured

Doctors say one of the students wounded in a stabbing attack this morning at Franklin Regional High School is on a ventilator, after a knife pierced his liver, missing his heart and aorta by just millimeters.

In all, at least five students were critically wounded and 17 other people were also hurt — including a school police officer who confronted the assailant. The suspect is identified as a 16-year-old student. He's now in custody.

RELATED: US Education Secretary: Students Deserve Safety

RELATED: Following Stabbing Incident, Nearby Schools Put On Alert

MAP: Franklin Regional High School Scene of Multiple Stabbing

VIDEO: Forbes Regional Hospital Doctor Describes Patients' Conditions (Via Pittsburgh Business Times)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Words of Sympathy for Franklin Regional

A witness says he had a "blank expression" on his face as he flailed away with two knives in the hallway just before the start of classes this morning at Franklin Regional High School, 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. Police say the motive is under investigation.

Doctors say they expect all the victims to survive, despite large and deep puncture wounds to the abdomen in some cases. The wounded campus police officer has been released.

UPDATE: (8:36 p.m.) Number of Injured Increased

Police have raised the number of people stabbed or slashed by a teenage boy in a knife attack at a suburban Pittsburgh high school from 20 to 22.

A Westmoreland County public safety spokesman says at least 21 students were stabbed or slashed and a security guard was stabbed Wednesday morning. He says two other students suffered other injuries in the knife rampage at Franklin Regional High School, 15 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Hospital officials say at least five student victims have been admitted in critical condition. Doctors say all are expected to recover.

The 16-year-old boy accused of the knife attack is awaiting arraignment. He's expected to be charged as an adult.

— The Associated Press

UPDATE: (5:41 p.m.) Students Called 'Heroes'

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett says there were a number of "heroes" who helped prevent further injury or loss of life during the high school hallway stabbing and slashing rampage and "many of them are students."

Murrysville Police Chief Thomas P. Seefeld says the first emergency call came in at 7:13 a.m. Wednesday and officers found a hallway "pretty much in chaos." He says there was lots of blood.

Seefeld estimates the teenager was taken into custody within 5 minutes after the first emergency call. He says the crime scene is in one wing of the Murrysville high school, over a couple of hundred feet. He says the two weapons used were straight knives about 8 to 10 inches long.

— The Associated Press

UPDATE: (4:46 p.m.) Suspect in School Stabbings Appears Before Judge

A 16-year-old boy who allegedly stabbed and slashed 19 students and a police officer at a suburban Pittsburgh high school is appearing before a judge.

Authorities haven't identified the boy, but he appeared before magisterial District Judge Charles Conway at about 4:15 p.m. in Export. That's about five miles away from the Murrysville high school. Charges are expected to be filed soon.

The boy was shackled by his hands and feet and was dressed in a hospital gown.

— The Associated Press

UPDATE (4:09 p.m.) Doctor: Without Nearby Trauma Center, Some Wounds Could Have Been Fatal

Eight people were taken to Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville: seven teenagers and one adult security guard.
The adult has since been treated and released.
Three teens underwent surgery and are now in the Intensive Care Unit.
Dr. Chris Kaufmann, director of the Trauma Center at Forbes, said everything worked as smoothly as it possibly could have this morning.
He said that without a trauma center nearby, some of the wounds could have been fatal.
“If these patients had had to be transported an additional 30 minutes, we wouldn’t be talking about three folks in our ICU – 30 minutes would have been too long,” Kaufmann said.
Kaufmann said the three students who underwent surgery suffered large wounds to the torso, and that it appeared the knife or knives used were at least one inch wide.
Those students will stay at least one night in the ICU.
An additional four students treated at Forbes are all in stable condition.

— Liz Reid

UPDATE (2:18 p.m.) Obamas Send Prayers to School Stabbing Victims

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims of a stabbing spree at a Pennsylvania high school.

That's from White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Obama is in Texas on Wednesday for a memorial service for last week's shooting at Fort Hood. Carney said on the way to Texas that Obama was briefed by his staff about the Pennsylvania school attacks.

— The Associated Press

UPDATE (12:05 p.m.) 'Shell-Shocked' By Stabbing Incident

Franklin Regional High School senior Josiah Wages said he was eating breakfast in the school's cafeteria when he heard screaming and saw people running, at which point the fire alarm sounded.

Wages said he and friends then evacuated the school. Outside, Wages said he saw female student with a hand wound.

Wages said he's feeling "shell-shocked" by the incident.

"I guess its one of those things that you never really see it coming until it happens," he said.

Police say the bloody crime scene left behind Wednesday at the school is "vast" and may take a couple of days to process.

At least two of the victims were in critical condition, though doctors expect all victims to survive.

— Deanna Garcia

UPDATE (11:04 a.m.)  Suspect Was Tackled By Principal, Resource Officer

Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld provided an update to the media shortly after 10:30 a.m. Here's what we've learned:

  • A fire alarm was pulled, which helped in the evacuation of the students at Franklin Regional High School.
  • Twenty people — 19 students and an adult security guard — were injured in the stabbing attack. The guard sustained a stab wound to the abdomen.
  • Investigators don't know at this time what led to the attack.
  • Authorities are checking on a report that a threatening phone call was made last night. There's no indication of who received the call or if it were indeed made.
  • The suspect was reportedly "flashing two knives" in the hallway when he was tackled by the school's principal and the school resource officer. Neither was wounded.
  • The suspect sustained some hand injuries.

— Kevin Gavin and Ryan Loew

UPDATE (10:25 a.m.)  4 Students Seriously Hurt

A doctor says some victims of a multiple stabbing at a high school near Pittsburgh have suffered injuries classified as life-threatening, though all are expected to survive.

Dr. Chris Kaufman says two victims were in the operating room and one was awaiting surgery at Forbes Regional Medical Center, a few miles from Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

Officials say four students were believed to be the most seriously injured Wednesday morning by a fellow student who stabbed or slashed others, injuring as many as 20.

— Mark Nootbaar

UPDATE (10:18 a.m.) Gov. Corbett Issues Statement

Gov. Tom Corbett has issued a statement regarding the multiple stabbing incident at Franklin Regional High School:

“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.”

“I have directed the Pennsylvania State Police to assist local law enforcement in its investigation in any way possible. Other state resources will be made available to the community, if needed. I assure the citizens of Murrysville that they have the full support of my administration.”

— Ryan Loew

UPDATE (9:33 a.m.) Public Safety Official Says 20 Injured, 4 Seriously

Westmoreland Public Safety spokesman Dan Stevens confirmed that 20 people were injured in today’s stabbing at Franklin Regional High School. Four of those victims were sent by Life Flight to area hospitals with serious injures that were not considered to be life threatening.

Stevens said the stabbings apparently took place in several classrooms and hallways over about a half hour before police were able to arrest the suspect. Local police were able to muster more officers than normal because police were in the process of a shift change.

District Attorney John Peck said he was monitoring the situation. Detectives from his office were also investigating, though Peck said he had no information beyond that being reported by Pittsburgh television news stations.

Stevens says not all of the 20 injured were cut by the knife, though most were. Some suffered scrapes and cuts in the mayhem that ensued at the school.

He says all the injured are between 14 and 17 years old.

The suspect, a male student, was taken into custody and being questioned.

Stevens says the suspect used a knife, though he didn't say what kind or why he attacked the others.

— Mark Nootbaar

UPDATE (8:16 a.m.) 'Critical Incident' Reported

Franklin Regional Elementary Schools are closed today in reaction to this morning's stabbing incident at the High School.

“A critical incident has occurred at the high school. All elementary schools are cancelled, (sic) 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.”

Students in the high school and middle school are being held in their schools at this hour.

— Mark Nootbaar


Franklin Regional High School is on lock down this morning following a stabbing incident where there were multiple injuries. 

Westmoreland County 9-1-1 says several officers and medical units responded this morning.  At least one arrest has been made. 

It is unclear how many students have been injured or what might have prompted the attacks.

Calls to the school's administrative offices in Murrysville went unanswered.

— Mark Nootbaar