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  Alaska School Knife Attack Leaves 4 Injured

    anchorage, Alaska

   Monday - May 7, 2001


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ANCHORAGE, Alaska —All 4 boys, who police said ranged in age from 8 to 10, were in serious condition at local hospitals late Monday, a police spokeswoman said.  A 33-year-old man who was rambling incoherently stabbed four boys in the neck at an elementary school Monday before classes were scheduled to start. Police Officers, including the chairman of the community patrol, could subdued him and stopped further injury.


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Mountain View Elementary School student Kevin Bruno, who said he witnessed the attack, is comforted by his mother, VinciaMountain View Elementary School student Kevin Bruno, who said he witnessed the attack, is comforted by his mother, Vincia

Mountain View Elementary School  - Monday May 7, 2001 - ONE BOY HAD PREVIOUSLY been listed in critical condition. Two of the victims were brothers.  Police charged Jason Pritchard, 33, with four counts of first-degree assault and four counts of attempted murder. He was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail. Deputy Police Chief Mark Mew said officers were investigating reports that Pritchard had been living in his car. Mew said the suspect had "a fairly extensive misdemeanor record."

The children, part of a group waiting for a breakfast for low-income students at Mountain View Elementary School, were on a playground when the attacks started [School Safety Site Assessment]. They fled inside, with their attacker apparently chasing them and continuing to strike before he was cornered by teachers, police said [Crisis Response Plan Training].

Investigators were still piecing together the sequence of events, Mew said. "We know the situation was dynamic and part of it occurred outside," he said. Keith Lacek, an 11-year-old student at Mountain View who lives about a block away, said Pritchard had been loitering near the school building in recent days and had brandished a knife at approaching students [Kids are the Keys Assembly].  Parrish Harris, a 9-year-old friend of one of the victims and a witness to the attack, said he had not seen Pritchard before. Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau said she had not received any complaints about suspicious individuals near the school. Staff members are "very attuned to trespassers on school grounds," she added.

The school canceled Monday and Tuesday classes, and Comeau said beefed-up security measures would be discussed at a school board meeting Monday night. The Mountain View neighborhood, in northeast Anchorage, is one of the city’s poorest. Parents of students at the school had previously expressed concern about their children’s safety.  (See the Lock Out Violence Everyday Campaign - A community violence prevention program).

Evette Carmack rushed to the school from her job at Alaska Regional Medical Center, still dressed in green scrubs. She has two children at the school, fifth-grader Christopher and second-grader Jasmine. "I came from Chicago to get away from all this," Carmack said. "To get a better life for my kids."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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  • Reported By:
    Mike Nelson
    Keys To Safer Schools

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