Turning Bystanders Into First Responders

One April morning in 2014, a sixteen-year-old sophomore at Franklin Regional Senior High, in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, stole two butcher knives from his parents’ kitchen, hid them in his backpack, and took them to school. He was wearing all black and, according to witnesses, had a “blank expression.” Just before first period, in the hall of the science wing, he stabbed several classmates. Then he pulled the fire alarm. As the corridor filled with people, the boy moved down the hallway, a knife in each hand, stabbing more students. He turned and raced back up the hall—an administrator remembered him “flailing the knives like he was swimming the backstroke.” One girl later testified, “I could feel that my lip wasn’t attached to my face anymore.” A boy, stabbed in the belly, recalled, “I was gushing blood.”

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