Police arrested a student at a Halifax high school Monday after two staff members were stabbed.
All three were taken to hospital, but the extent of their injuries remained unclear Monday afternoon. Halifax Regional Police later confirmed the suspect had also been stabbed but provided no details on how that happened.
Police said they responded to a weapons complaint at around 9:20 a.m., and a suspect was taken into custody about 10 minutes later at Charles P. Allen High School in the suburb of Bedford.
A teacher at the school said it appears a male student was in the school’s front office with a vice-principal when the student suddenly became violent.
“I think that’s when he stabbed the VP,” said the teacher, who was granted anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for the school. “I’m not sure if (the student) then stabbed himself …. Then one of the secretaries ran in, so he stabbed her as well. And then he ran outside.”
The teacher said the student’s actions were considered out of character, though there had been recent signs that something was wrong.
“There were a couple warnings where he was caught ripping off gay pride flags off of walls at school, which is apparently why he’d been called into a meeting a couple of times,” the teacher said.
Lindsey Bunin, a spokeswoman for the school authority, later confirmed the suspect was in the school office at the time of the stabbings. “It was all very, very quick, very immediate,” she told reporters.
Raghad Ghazal, a 15-year-old Grade 10 student, said she was outside when she spotted “a guy with a knife running away and then a security guard chasing after him with a broom.”
That’s when the police showed up, she said as she waited outside the school for a bus.
“He was just chasing after him and then there were five police cars that came and they were surrounding him,” she said. “I was kind of shocked. It shouldn’t happen, but thankfully it’s the first time it’s happened in a long time.”
As she spoke, police blocked areas where they were looking for evidence, as school buses lined up to take students home.
Jonathan Teal, 15, said news of the stabbing was upsetting for many students.
“A lot of people were really nervous and scared about it,” the Grade 10 student said as he waited for a bus. “I just sat in my classroom and texted my family and let them know I was OK …. I’m all right (now). I’m outside. Everything is taken care of. The guy is gone and it’s fine now.”
Hala Almashharawi, 15, was in a classroom when the stabbing was reported.
“It came as a shock to me,” she said. “I didn’t think something like this would happen in our school. It was kind of crazy to think about it.”
Halifax police initially reported that four people had been stabbed, but they issued a statement lowering the number. They also confirmed that the suspect is a student at the school.
“Officers located three people who had been stabbed,” the police force said in a statement. “They were transported to hospital for treatment.”
The school was locked down and then closed for the remainder of the day. Police later completed a search of the school and worked with school staff to release students from the property on Innovation Drive.
About 1,700 students in grades 10 to 12 attend the school.
Michael Tutton and Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2023.