Yesterday there was an an attack at Antietam Middle-Senior High School in Lower Alsace Township outside of Reading, PA. A lone unnamed 13-year-old male student burst into a classroom armed with knives, firecrackers, and a propane torch while wearing the prerequisite trench coat and listening to an MP3 player. He was able to wound three students in the attack with a giving them all minor injuries.
Several students tried to subdue him but were unsuccessful. He was eventually disarmed by school officials.
When it appeared the boy was unwilling to surrender, another teacher, English instructor David Kase, walked up behind him and swatted his arm, knocking the propane torch from his hand, Principal James Snyder said.
“We pushed him to the wall and kept him to a confined area so he wasn’t going anywhere,” Snyder said. “He wasn’t saying anything to us.”
A motive for the attack is yet unknown and the suspect allegedly did not fit into some other stereotypes of a school attacker.
“This was not a student who was a regular or frequent flyer to my office for discipline at all,” Snyder said. “I would classify him as a regular student, nothing that strikes me out of the ordinary. I’ve replayed this in my mind … and there is nothing that triggers me to say I saw this coming.”
It seems the suspect did not have many friends though.
Seventh-grader Mckenzie Okonski, 13, who knows the suspect and saw him minutes before the attack, said he did not get along very well with others, often making fun of people who in turn ridiculed him.
“He acted tough but he was not tough at all,” she said.
I guess it’s hard to have friends when you’re too busy being anti-social.
It seems that the suspect may have been planning on committing suicide since there was a note found at his house that read “Mom, I’m so sorry. I love you. Goodbye.”
After police had the suspect in custody they said that the suspect also had a gasoline can, a bottle filled with a flammable liquid, more knives and a face mask allegedly so he wouldn’t have to breathe in fumes.
The suspects house was also searched last night. No details of the search have been released.
As of now he’s being charged as a juvenile which I wholeheartedly disagree with. He stormed the school with the intent to kill others, burn down the school, and possibly killing himself. As I’ve stated previously juvenile charges are for shoplifting and vandalism not attempted murder. That’s just pure speculation on my part as the charges have not been formally filed as of the time of this article.
The victims were treated for minor injuries and released.
Trench Reynolds has been blogging about school violence since 2000 at his blog TheTrenchcoat Chronicles.