Football players recount their response to knife attack at school

Oct 28 2011 - 9:07am

SEATTLE -- Travis Pickett was coming out of the locker room with a couple of his football buddies before school on Monday morning when he heard screaming.

As at any school, the hallways at Snohomish High School are loud, so the 17-year-old senior didn't think much of it at first. But then he saw the screaming girl coming out of the restroom, blood pouring out of her arm and a look of shock on her face.

When he went into the bathroom, he saw one girl lying on the floor and another standing still near a stall. The girl on the ground was holding her neck, he said. The other girl, the suspect, "looked nervous, but she wasn't going anywhere. She was standing there, like, 'Yeah, I did that."'

Pickett, along with his friends, Adam Reese and Mitch Melander, all seniors on the Snohomish football team, talked to reporters Thursday about how they responded Monday, rushing to help during what police say appears to have been one girl's thought-out, yet random, attack.

Police and prosecutors say the 15-year-old Snohomish High student had been planning to stab someone at school since Saturday. She armed herself with two knives, including the 8-inch butcher knife she allegedly used.

On Monday morning, she went into the restroom, waited for it to empty then attacked a freshman who was brushing her teeth, according to the charges. Police found the 14-year-old -- stabbed in the heart, lungs and neck as many as 25 times -- propped against the wall under the sinks. She underwent six hours of surgery on Monday. She was listed in satisfactory condition Thursday.

Her 15-year-old best friend, slashed when she tried to help, according to court documents, was treated at the hospital Monday and released.

The alleged attacker has been charged with one count of first-degree attempted murder and one count of first-degree assault.

She had been suspended from school in April for threatening to kill another student's boyfriend, according to prosecutors.

She received counseling at a psychiatric hospital and returned to school in May.

The Seattle Times is not naming her because she was charged as a juvenile. However, she will face a mandatory hearing to determine whether she will be charged as an adult because of the nature of the crime.

In an interview Thursday night, Pickett remembered that he saw the suspect nod when he asked if she was responsible for the attack, then saw her eyes dart toward the bent knife on the floor.

She had blood on her hands, he said.

"I thought, I've got to get that away from her," he said, remembering how he grabbed the knife and threw it out of the bathroom.

He ushered bystanders out, then called 911.

At the news conference, Reese said: "I hear these screams that I never want to hear again."

Some are calling the boys' actions heroic.

Pickett, who wants to attend Washington State University and study business, describes his response in simpler terms. He said he "tried to see the situation for what it was and take care of it."

(c)2011 The Seattle Times

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