First to arrive, football buddies recall Snohomish High stabbing scene

SNOHOMISH — He thought he saw the girl’s eyes dart toward the knife on the bathroom floor.

All he could think about was keeping her from grabbing it.

Snohomish High School senior Travis Pickett was at school Monday morning when he heard girls screaming in the bathroom.

At first, he and his football buddies thought it was girls being girls. But the screaming didn’t stop.

The boys became witnesses to the aftermath of a knife attack by a female student on two others in a school bathroom.

A girl ran out, blood on her arm.

Pickett ran in. He saw a young woman on the floor, holding her neck.

Another young woman was standing near a stall, he said.

“She was dressed in black, had blood on her hands and the knife at her feet,” he said.

He asked the girl if she did it, if she hurt the other girls. She nodded, he said.

Her eyes shifted toward the knife. He picked it up and tossed it.

The bathroom filled with people. Pickett called 911.

The girl in black said nothing.

Prosecutors allege the Snohomish girl, 15, attacked two other students. She was charged Wednesday with attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault.

A freshman girl, 14, was critically injured, suffering multiple knife wounds to her heart, lungs and throat. A second freshman, 15, was injured when she tried to stop the assault on her friend.

One girl received a deep gash to her arm and puncture wound to her back. She was released from the hospital on Monday. Her childhood friend remains hospitalized. That girl’s condition continued to improve Thursday, said Cheri Russum, a spokeswoman for the Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. Medical staff have called their patient “the miracle child.”

The suspect made a brief appearance Thursday in the juvenile division of the Snohomish County Superior Court. Her parents also were in the courtroom.

Lawyers agreed to a Nov. 8 hearing to determine whether the girl’s case should stay in juvenile court.

The suspect’s attorney, veteran public defender Caroline Mann, advised Judge Michael Downes that she likely will need more time to investigate the girl’s background and assemble school and medical records. The girl also likely will undergo a mental health evaluation.

Downes was told earlier this week that the girl was seeing a mental health professional and taking medications before Monday’s attack.

Court records also indicate that the girl was required to undergo professional counseling after she was suspended from the high school in April. Fellow students complained that the girl had threatened violence. She was allowed to return in May after school officials received a letter from mental health professionals who concluded she was “safe” to go back to school.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Cindy Larsen has filed a motion to move the case to adult court.

Under the law, a judge must consider seven factors to determine where best to handle the case.

Among those factors are the seriousness of the offense, the defendant’s previous criminal history, her maturity and the likelihood she can be rehabilitated by juvenile services.

A conviction in juvenile court could mean the girl faces two to five years in lockup. If she is convicted as an adult, the potential prison term quadruples.

The suspect on Thursday remained locked up at Denney Juvenile Justice Center. She is being held on $1 million bail.

Snohomish students and others in the community continued Thursday to rally and draw strength from each other.

The day after the stabbing, someone tied pink ribbons on all the doors at the high school. Someone painted pink a large boulder used as a makeshift billboard by the school. Students planned to wear pink for a “Pink Out” on Friday.

Pink is one of the critically injured victim’s favorite colors, district spokeswoman Kristin Foley said.

As the week wore on, the showings of support spread throughout the city and beyond.

Crosstown rivals at Glacier Peak High School on Wednesday donned red, white and black — Snohomish High School colors.

Students at Bothell High School, too, showed support for Snohomish on Thursday by wearing Panther colors. A picture and note were sent to Snohomish, Bothell High School Principal Bob Stewart said.

The Snohomish High football team plays Jackson on Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. Both schools, in addition to Glacier Peak, plan to coordinate color schemes this weekend.

Three of the football players — Pickett and seniors Mitchell Melander and Adam “A.J.” Reese — talked with reporters Thursday.

All three were near the attack on Monday.

They said they are grateful and moved by the outpouring of support on campus and from the community.

Since the stabbing, the victims are all they can think about, the boys said. They hope to visit the girl who’s still hospitalized.

Knowing that the victims are OK is what is getting them through, they said.

The football players began to describe what could have happened that morning, what it would have been like if the girls hadn’t survived.

Their eyes changed. The words weren’t there.

They didn’t know the girls. That didn’t matter.

“They’re part of our school,” Melander said. “They’re family. You don’t know them, but you care about them.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

For the families

The Snohomish High School Parent Club has established the Snohomish High School Student Benefit Fund to benefit the victims of Monday’s stabbing and their families. Donations are accepted at any Columbia Bank branch.

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