HOMESTEAD, Pa. -- Police officers shot an armed man inside a mental health facility after he stabbed several people and put down his knife but refused to drop his gun while his victims were bleeding badly, authorities said.
Seven people were taken to hospitals, including the man and at least four stabbing victims, Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie Downs said. It was unclear if any injuries were life-threatening after the Friday afternoon attack at Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health facility in Homestead, just southeast of Pittsburgh.
Police implored 38-year-old Dustin Johnson to drop his gun or be shot based on texts from inside that the victims were bleeding profusely and needed help, Downs said. 911 received several calls from stabbing victims and family members who believed they were in danger of losing too much blood, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonoughreports CBS affiliate KDKA.
Police who responded saw the suspect armed with a long knife and a handgun, which authorities later determined was a BB gun, the station reports. Johnson dropped his knife but not the gun before he was shot, Downs said.
There was no telephone number listed for Johnson, who was conscious when he was taken to a hospital for treatment, Downs said. He was reportedly expected to undergo surgery.
Johnson apparently gained entry to the secure facility before attacking people on the fifth floor, authorities said.
KDKA reports Johnson was a discharged patient. Employee C.J. Fulton tells WTAE he pulled a gun as he complained that a prior stay at the facility had “ruined” his life.
“He just started saying, ‘You ruined my life,’ ... then he proceeded to stab individuals and assault individuals,” Fulton said.
Fulton’s aunt told KDKA her niece texted her during the incident, telling her she was being held hostage on the fifth floor of the facility and multiple people had been stabbed. Fulton reportedly said she was able to hide under a desk and was uninjured.
Fulton later texted her sister, “We got him,” the sister told KDKA.
A nearby elementary school was briefly on lockdown.
The center says it provides care and support for people and communities dealing with behavioral, mental health, substance abuse and developmental issues. Its executive director, Fran Sheedy Bost, described Friday’s incident as a “hostage situation.”