WASHINGTON - An American high school student stabbed or slashed 20 people, mostly teenagers, in a bloody 30-minute rampage in the classrooms and hallways of a Pittsburg high school on Wednesday, officials said.
Several had life threatening injuries, Chris Kaufmann, the trauma medical director at Forbes Regional Hospital, told CNN.
The attack at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, a suburb of Pittsburg, began at 7:13 am (1213 GMT) as students began arriving for what should have been a routine day.
The assault was over by 7:45 am with the suspect taken into custody almost immediately, Dan Stevens, a spokesman for Westmoreland County emergency management, told AFP.
Stevens identified the suspect as a male student.
Stevens said he was cornered by police officers who rushed to the scene. His age and identity were not immediately released.
"Twenty students were injured, four of those students were flown from the scene," Stevens told AFP.
The victims, most of them aged 14 to 17, were slashed and stabbed in "numerous classrooms and hallways" of the high school, Stevens added.
The school has since been evacuated.
A statement on the website of the Franklin Regional School District said a "critical incident" had occurred.
"All elementary schools are cancelled, the middle school and high school students are secure," the statement said.
Victims had been stabbed in the torso, Kaufmann said.
"These are quite serious injuries," he told CNN.
"We had two patients who went immediately to the operating room," Kaufmann said.
While most were students at the high school, an adult also was among those being treated at the hospital.
Wednesday's attack comes after a long and frequent line of US school shootings that have inflamed a nationwide debate over gun control in the United States.
But even the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 young children and six adults were shot dead, ultimately failed to tighten gun ownership rules.