A 16-year-old boy accused of stabbing and slashing 19 students and a police officer at a suburban Pittsburgh high school is appearing before a judge.
Witnesses say the boy tackled a freshman and stabbed him in the belly on Wednesday morning and then got up and ran wildly down a hall, slashing other students.
The attack happened at 7:13 a.m. EST Wednesday at a Murrysville, Penn. high school. Twenty people--19 students and a security guard--sustained various degrees of injuries after a sophomore reportedly flashed two knives around as he went down a hall.
Doctors say one of the students wounded in the attack is on a ventilator. They say the knife pierced his liver, missing his heart and aorta by just millimeters.
In all, at least five students were critically wounded, but doctors say they expect all the victims to survive.
Authorities credit an unknown person who pulled a fire alarm after seeing some of the stab victims with possibly keeping the number of injured from rising even higher. Law enforcement said that while the fire alarm created more chaos, it also got people out of the building and to safety faster.
A witness said the stabbings happened in the school's science wing. One student told CBS Pittsburgh that he was unaware of what had happened when he got to the hallway--then he saw blood all over the floor and a wounded student.
“He had his shirt pulled up and he was screaming, ‘Help! Help!’” 18-year-old Michael Float said. “He had a stab wound right at the top right of his stomach, blood pouring down.”
The police chief says a school police officer and an assistant principal finally got the suspect under control.
Frantic parents had to wait almost two hours before they were told where they could reunite with their children. In the meantime, some were able to speak to their students by phone.
“One of the children that pulled the alarm, my daughter said, after the incident happened to clear the school. She reported to me it was a 10th grade student,” parent Tim Graham told CBS Pittsburgh.
The 16-year-old suspect has not been identified. He was reportedly taken to the hospital and treated for a minor injury to his hand.
Investigators say they don't know the motive for the attack yet, but are looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student. That call was reportedly placed the night before the attack.
It could take several days to process the crime scene which was described as "vast" by the police chief.
We are continuing to follow this story closely, and will provide updates at they become available.