Social media posts foreshadowed attack at high school in Pickering
Paul Johnston and Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2016 8:59AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 24, 2016 6:58AM EST
A 14-year-old girl arrested in connection with a seemingly random knife attack that injured nine people at a high school in Pickering appears to have foreshadowed the event online in the weeks before the incident Tuesday morning.
A link to a social media site belonging to the suspect – confirmed to CP24 through multiple sources – references an impending attack at the school.
Among the posts are messages added last month expressing a desire to commit a school shooting and stabbing, a desire to commit suicide, a reference to watching the Luka Magnotta murder video, and a goodbye note promising a stabbing at the school today.
Police said they received a call at around 8:30 a.m. for a report of a female waving two knives and attacking people in the hallways of Dunbarton High School on Sheppard Avenue near Whites Road.
In total, nine people were injured, though only four were taken to hospital. Their injuries were considered largely superficial.
The attack ended when the student was apprehended by three quick-thinking teachers who tackled her to the ground and held her on scene until officers arrived, police said.
Investigators said they are not looking for any additional suspects.
“We came in and took custody of a person that had already been apprehended by staff members here,” Durham police Sgt. Bill Calder told reporters at the scene.
“(The staff members) did the best job we could ever expect from citizens. They ended this very quickly.”
According to Calder, the incident began in the south part of the school and progressed through the hallways with “no one set area” where the stabbings took place.
The Durham District School Board said that three of those injured were the staff members who intervened, while the other six were students.
Though the school was initially placed under a lockdown, Calder said police began doing a controlled release at around 10 a.m., following an extensive search of the building.
A motive for the attack remains unknown.
“It seems to be random right now, it doesn’t appear to be a targeted attack but that is something we are going to have to look into,” Calder said.
Students describe ordeal
The incident unfolded about 10 minutes before classes were scheduled to get underway Tuesday, at a time when the halls of the school would have been filled with students.
One 14-year-old student told The Canadian Press that she saw the suspect holding two kitchen knives and immediately ran away.
"I just ran for my life," the girl said. "I just can't believe it happened. She almost got me."
Another student told CTV News that the suspect turned to look at him while clutching two knives.
“Everyone was running so I started running,” he said.
“I looked to my side for one second and I see a girl with two knives really close to me and she tilted her head and looked right at me.”
The school was closed Tuesday following the incident. Classes are expected to resume as scheduled Wednesday.
Speaking at Queen's Park earlier in the day, Premier Kathleen Wynne called the situation "very worrisome."
"I know that the police are doing everything they can,” she said. “They are in control of the situation. I also know that the school board officials made sure that kids were kept safe.”
In a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Durham District School Board commended students and staff “for the great leadership, courage and cooperation they demonstrated” as the incident took place and in the immediate aftermath.
Charges are pending against the suspect, police said.