Ambulances lined up outside of the high school

Ambulances lined up outside of the high school

On 7-9-14 at 0709, the hustle and bustle of our morning was gone. A 16-year-old student went on a stabbing rampage at Franklin-Regional High School in Murrysville Pa, less than 20 miles from where I live. By 0730 it was over and the actor was in custody; although 24 people were injured. Now, I can go on with facts, figures and statements made by officials. Having been involved in Emergency Services for 23 years I can tell you that those that they pick to interview usually have no business giving any information. It might be their job to be the Public Information Officer (PIO) for their area; Police, Fire, EMS; but one thing is for sure; be prepared. Oh yeah, and try not to act like it’s a pain in your ass to give out any information. I saw at least one official who had an attitude with reporters during a press conference. Okay, off of that. It is what it is and it will never change. Some people don’t care what they’re talking about as long as they are in front of a camera.

Helicopters staged on the athletics field

Helicopters staged on the athletics field

How about the students? All of them, even the ones not injured in the attack, will have memories of this tragic event for a long time, if not for the rest of their lives. From all accounts it sounds like the suspect walked in to school carrying two 8 inch knives and just started walking down a hallway, stabbing and slashing as he went. I hear a lot of why, like why did this happen. I am left with how. How did this student get not one, but 2 knives in to school seemingly undetected? Franklin-Regional has several security guards and a School Resource Officer(SRO) as well. The SRO is a police officer with the Murrysville Police Dept. At 0709 he radioed that he had a situation at the High School. The following is a transcript of the initial radio traffic:

7:09 a.m.

“I don’t know what I’ve got going on down at the school here, but I need some units here ASAP.”

“Alright, we’re getting a call reporting one individual has a knife.”

“230 and additional units, the actor with the knife is in room 213.”

“Alright, correction on that. There is a victim down in room 115.”

7:10 a.m.

“Murrysville units, the actor is (suspect’s name removed). They’re not sure of his location right now.”

7:11 a.m.

“Station 610 bravo response, Franklin Regional High School, multiple stab victims.”

“Station 610, sir, we’re trying to see three stab victims, there is bleeding.”

“10-4, we’re still obtaining additional information. We’re not sure how many people are involved at this time.”

7:13 a.m.

“Hey, 14, a description on that actor, I’d appreciate it, maybe a vehicle he drives if he has one.”

7:14 a.m.

“I was just going to recommend that also. Police are advising scene’s not secure. They do have multiple victims, 225’s unavailable. Do you want 952?”

7:15 a.m.

“Chief, location and description on the actor?”

“I’m at the front door, to the first hallway on the right, halfway down. I’ve got multiple victims here. We need ambulances here as soon as possible.”

“Be advised the suspect is in custody, only one suspect.”

“About, about 14 patients right now.”

“I need ambulances around the side.”

7:16 a.m.

“One stab wound to the back, one to the arm.”

“Make that three ambulances, another stab wound to the back.”

“OK, be advised, inside the school we have multiple stab victims, OK? So just bring in EMS from wherever you can get ‘em. Get us some local officers here also and, again, the suspect is in custody, but we need some help here.”

“Also, police are requesting EMS into the scene, actor is in custody, still don’t have an exact count on victims at this time.”

Listen to radio traffic from incident (Courtesy of Channel 4 Action News)

Back to the “How?” Did Franklin-Regional have medical detectors? No. Was the student with the knives even seen by security guards or the SRO? don’t know. What I do know is that there was no way to know that this student was bringing weapons into the school. Everyone thinks that they are safe and have the attitude that; “That would never happen to us here…” Well, sadly, Franklin-Regional has joined with Columbine and Sandy Hook. We feel secure that our children are safe and we could never experience anything like this but we have learned that hard way that we are all susceptible to tragedies like this one.  The School Superintendent was asked about bullying and he said that the subject hadn’t mentioned anything about bullying. Then he was asked how bad the bullying was at the school. Once again, a diffusive answer. The reporter then stated that several students had stated that bullying was a huge problem at the school. The Superintendent then became obviously irritated and refused to answer.

Was it worth not answering to admit that your school is no different from any other school in the country or the world? All he stated was that there were resources available for students being bullied. He didn’t state if the suspect had sought assistance from any of these resources or not. Several students have stated that the suspect was bullied because of acne and general things but the school is remaining tight-lipped on any of it.

In the end, this is not about assigning blame or any of that. It’s about supporting the students and school are remembered and assisted in any way we can. The students involved need our support as well as their families. Let’s also not forget about the suspect himself.   He needs support as does his family as we all try to make sense out of this. Throwing blame around at whose fault it is would be counter productive but it will inevitably happen… And the call ME crazy…