Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dunbarton High School in Pickering stabbing rampage: 'It was just horrifying'

PICKERING - Dunbarton High School students ran for their lives Tuesday morning as a teen girl armed with two large knives allegedly rampaged through the halls randomly stabbing eight people.

Those who came face to face with her and narrowly escaped were shaken as they gathered out front of the school at Sheppard Ave. and Whites Rd. N.

“It was just horrifying,” Kristina Petrovska said.

The Grade 9 student said the girl came within a metre of her and stared.

“She almost stabbed me but I started sprinting for my life,” Petrovska said. “I was terrified.”

Petrovska said some students took shelter in the guidance office while she and others ran outside.

Ryan Dunklin, 15, said he was near the school’s front doors when the violence erupted around 8:30 a.m. — before classes had begun for the day.

He saw his schoolmates scatter but initially wasn’t sure why everyone was running.

He realized something terrible was happening when he saw a teacher holding up an injured girl and another girl nearby cupping her hand over a neck wound.

“Then I turned around and saw this girl with two knives,” Dunklin remembered. “She just looked at me with two shiny, big knives.

“I just quickly ran as fast as possible out of there,” he said, adding two of his friends were among the injured.

Durham Regional Police Sgt. Bill Calder confirmed the girl wandered “throughout the school” stabbing six fellow students and two staff members.

The motive for the attacks wasn’t immediately known.

“It seems to be random at this point,” Calder said.

He said heavily armed tactical officers raced to the school, but by the time they arrived, two brave faculty members had managed to subdue the enraged girl.

“The people who deserve the most credit are those staff members,” Calder said. “They did a great job of holding her until we got here.

“Their actions stopped this from getting worse.”

Two staff and two students were taken to hospital while four other students were treated by medics at the school, Calder said, explaining none of the knife injuries are thought to be serious. Durham District School Board later confirmed a third teacher suffered minor injuries, but a spokesman couldn’t say if they were knife injuries.

A 14-year-old girl was arrested but there was no immediate word on what charges she’ll face.

Some students described her as a loner who often changes her first name.

The school was locked down for several hours as police went from classroom to classroom ensuring everyone else was safe and looking for witnesses.

As news of the violence spread, parents rushed to the school, anxious to see their kids.

Craig Mckenzie said his daughter in Grade 10 texted him about the lockdown just minutes after he dropped her off.

He raced back but wasn’t able to get into the school, so there were some tense moments as he waited for his daughter to be let out.

“It is terrifying,” Mckenzie said, adding it helped that he, like many parents, was in constant communication with his daughter on her cellphone.

“It’s pretty heart-wrenching,” he said of the violence. “This is a place for learning, not a place for war.”
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