At least 20 hurt after high school stabbing near Pittsburgh

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) – An emergency official says several people were stabbed at a high school near Pittsburgh and a suspect has been taken into custody.

Dan Stevens, the spokesman for Westmoreland County emergency management, says 20 people have been injured -- four seriously -- at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville. That's about 15 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld says 19 of the victims are students, and one of them is a school security guard. Not all of the injured were cut by the knife, although most were. Some suffered scrapes and cuts in the mayhem that ensued.

A school resource officer called in the stabbing at 7:13 a.m. Police say the 16-year-old male student is in custody, and is a sophomore at the school.

He was transported from the Murrysville Police Department by police car, and reportedly taken to a local hospital for superficial wounds.

Chief Seefeld wouldn't detail the carnage beyond saying, "The juvenile went down the hallway and was flashing two knives around and injured the people."

Investigators haven't determined a motive, but Seefeld said they're looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before. Seefeld didn't specify whether the suspect reportedly received or made the call.

Jeff Dahlke with the security company who provides security for Franklin Regional High School tells CBS affiliate KDKA-TV that the suspect was armed with two knives.

"The alarm went off, and students started rushing outside. The security guard outside rushed in, and came upon his supervisor and an Assistant Principal who had the suspect in custody on the ground and was trying to control him, and try to get the weapons away from him," Dahlke said.

Police say that security guard was stabbed in the abdomen.

The CEO of Forbes Hospital tells KDKA's Heather Abraham that one student applied pressure to an injured classmate, possibly saving that student's life. Two student victims were in critical condition, according to Dr. Mark Rubino of Forbes Regional Medical Center.

UPMC Presby says the 17-year-old male student they have there is in critical condition with chest and abdominal injuries.

According to a witness, the stabbings happened in the science wing of the building.

The police chief said someone, possibly a student, pulled a fire alarm after seeing some of the victims being stabbed. Although that created chaos, he said, it also resulted in students running out of the school to safety faster than they might have otherwise.

"The fire alarm being pulled probably assisted with the evacuation of the school and that was a good thing that that was done," Seefeld said.

Franklin Regional School District says the high school will be closed for the next few days, but the middle school and elementary school will be open on Thursday.

Westmoreland County Public Safety spokesman Dan Stevens said, "We haven't lost a life. That's what we have to keep in mind."

Franklin Regional High School posted this statement on their website.

A critical incident has occurred at the high school. All elementary schools are cancelled, 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.

Governor Tom Corbett issued the following 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.

"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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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