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Victims' Families, Witnesses Recall Stabbing At Mental Health Facility

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Five people are injured and many are reeling from shock after an armed former patient entered Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health in Homestead and began attacking.

The stabbing victims include two residents and three employees. Four are expected to recover and one is in critical condition.

Heather Parrilla's stepmom said her stepdaughter called her dad and her husband as she hid under a desk.

"She was scared, terribly scared and just wanted my husband to know that she loved him," said Vicki Dinsmore.

Parrilla was among several victims stabbed or slashed by attacker and former patient Dustin Johnson and brought to UPMC Mercy. She had already been slashed in the back of head when she made the calls.

"She said she was locked in a room with her supervisor who had been stabbed and her supervisor was lying on the floor and she was hiding under desk," said Vicki Dinsmore. "Then she called her husband and told him and apparently the line went dead."

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Understandably, her family was incredibly worried. But now they are just glad she's safe.

Unharmed residents inside the facility scrambled for safety when Johnson entered the building.

"I was inside laying down in my bedroom got woken up by a commotion and someone saying call 911," said patient Joseph Gruber.

Gruber was on the 5th floor when Johnson came in, slashing people with two large knives and brandishing a BB gun.

"I looked out bedroom door, see a bigger guy with handgun what not. That's when locked door and went in bathroom," he said.

Some witnesses have said Johnson poured gasoline on the floor.

"I just looked at him like he was a client, he didn't say anything to me but when he got off elevator I got on the same elevator and that's when I see gasoline poured all over elevator," said patient Omar Berry.

Rebecca Schmidt said the 38-year-old suspect used to be a patient at the facility.

"He was discharged from treatment and he wasn't covered anymore, so he came back because he was upset that he got discharged," she explained.

When asked about the easy access to the facility, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said the elevator to the offices is accessible to the public.

Residents had to evacuate the building until police cleared the scene. A bus was parked outside the Munhall Police Department for residents to go into so they could keep warm in the interim.

Allegheny County Police detectives are in the process of preparing affidavits to charge Johnson with various offenses to include five counts of Aggravated Assault, five counts of Attempted Homicide, Attempted Arson and Risking a Catastrophe.

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