OREM, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Five students were stabbed just before school was to begin at Mountain View High School.
Orem police said a 16-year-old suspect was arrested moments after the stabbing. But they have no motive for the stabbing.
The first 911 call came into Orem Police at around 7:40 a.m.
“There were several stab wounds and someone with a knife was in the boys locker room downstairs,” said Chief Gary Giles
And the scene inside Mountain View High School was chaotic.
“I just heard screaming and people running away from the gym and where it was happening,” said Ryan Morgan who was near the area.
Jake Carlson arrived the the locker room moments after the stabbing happened.
“I walked in and there a lot of blood on the floor,” said Carlson who was then escorted away from the scene by school staff members.
But Eduviges Sanchez was inside the locker room and helped one of the victims who had been stabbed.
“I don’t know if it happened inside or if it happened outside but the boy was standing outside and the wound was big,” she said. “It was really big wound and there was a lot of bleeding. It was scary.”
Police said the five students suffered similar wounds to the neck and upper torso. Chief Giles said their conditions range from critical to fair condition.
Jennifer Balderrama is friends with one of the victims.
“He’s okay right now,” she said. “I think he had a hole in his neck or something. He’s in the emergency room but he’s okay.”
Police said the 16-year-old suspect had a self-inflicted knife wound but was unaware if it was intentional or accidental. Giles said the suspect had a knife with a three-inch blade. He said courageous acts from a resource officer and teachers helped stop the attack.
“Our school officer responded very quickly and was able to find staff members who had already placed themselves in harms way, had already boxed the suspect in a corner of the locker room,” said Giles. “The suspect still had a knife at the time. Our school resource officer as well as other responding officers were able to get there and they tased him and were able to take him into custody.”
Alpine school district officials said this is the suspect’s first year at mountain view high school. Before that he was home schooled.
“This is a new student at Mountain View High School,” said Kimberly Bird. (“He’s) a new sophomore, a straight A student who attends regularly and no prior disciplinary issues.”
Jose Mijeras claimed he sat next to the suspect in two of his classes.
” He’s a little more quiet type of guy but sometimes in class he interacts sometimes, ” said Mijeras. “But I don’t see him as a person who could do this.”
For two hours, parents come to the school in search of their sons or daughters. Donna Millard was panicked when she heard of the stabbings. She rushed to the school.
“I’m doing better now that I was able to give my son a hug and that meant everything this morning,” Millard said.
The spokesperson for the Alpine School District said they will provide counseling for the students and allowed some to go home with parents. She said school will resume Wednesday. But she said long term there will be many discussions about school safety.
“What things do we have in place?” Bird said about their policies. “Do we have the best training in detecting mental illnesses within students.”
It’s unknown whether the suspect suffers from a mental illness but police said they will continue investigating his motive.
Late Tuesday, Orem Police released a letter written by the parents of the 16-year-old suspect:
“We express our deepest condolences to the five boys who were harmed…
None of the victims had done anything to hurt him.
This was in now way racially or ethnically motivated.
We are at a loss to express how deeply sorry we are for the pain and injury caused. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the boys and their parents.”