Investigators are scrambling to connect the dots on what drove a young man to attack five of his classmates, before stabbing himself.
The 16-year-old boy, who has not been identified, walked into the boys’ locker room at Mountain View High School on the morning of November 15, 2016. Wearing a red shirt in anticipation of the blood, the teen pulled out a bo staff and a knife from a bag of deadly weapons he brought along with him that morning. He attacked another student with the bo staff, causing the weapon to break. The student fell unconscious from the attack, but was able to flee the locker room minutes later.
The boy then went after his second victim, stabbing him in the neck and severing a vein.
The third victim had been changing for gym class and had not been wearing a shirt when the teen walked up behind him and stabbed him in the back shoulder and neck. The attack severed a central artery and damaged the victim’s esophagus.
When another boy heard the commotion he walked over to assist the third victim. That’s when the teen turned the knife on him, making him the fourth victim in the attack. The student suffered a deep puncture wound that later required surgery.
The fifth victim witnessed the carnage unfolding in the locker room and called out to the boy by name in an attempt to get him to stop. He was stabbed in the neck as he went to assist another victim. The fifth victim was able to flee the locker room and hid until help arrived.
Another boy who had been in the locker room at the time ran out and barricaded the door to prevent the attacker from accessing other areas of the school. A sixth boy said that the teen approached him “in a threatening manner” before entering into a bathroom instead. Inside the bathroom the teen then turned his knife on himself.
An officer on campus was able to apprehend the teen, who had survived his suicide attempt. Two of the victims were able to be treated and released immediately, while the other three were taken to the hospital in serious but stable condition. All of the victims and their attempted killer survived the attacks.
The stabber, who has been described by school administrators as a model student who consistently excelled at academics, had no apparent motive behind the attacks. According to the boy’s parents the attacks were not motivated by race or religion, nor was he a victim of bullying. His victims were chosen at random and he simply wanted to kill as many people as possible.
The boy was taken to the hospital and treated before being taken into police custody. He is being charged with five counts of attempted murder.
Since the attack there has been an outpouring of support from surrounding Utah communities. Though the town of Orem has been shaken by the stabbings, the community has come together to support families of the victims and has been focused on healing since news on the attacks broke.
Recently a fund has been set up to support families of the victims. The community has also scheduled several events including “A Day of Caring” at the Orem Fitness Center and a recognition night for first responders during the 11/26 production of “The Little Mermaid” at Mountain View High School, in order to boost community morale during this difficult time.