A 14-year-old boy stabbed a girl of the same age in front of shocked schoolmates, faculty and staff who had gathered for a back-to-school welcoming event at a campus auditorium in Luther, Oklahoma, Thursday, authorities said.
The girl temporarily lost consciousness but was stable following surgery, Luther Police Chief David Randall said.
The suspect was silent during the attack, and the two children did not appear to know each other, though they were both in the small Luther public school system last year, said Randall, who based his remarks on interviews with witnesses.
Amid a national discourse on toxic masculinity and the #MeToo movement, investigators were desperately trying to find a motive but were being thwarted by a teen suspect who "lawyered up" and is not speaking to authorities, the chief said.
"The thing that concerned me most was his nonchalant attitude about what transpired," Randall said. "No remorse whatsoever."
The first-day-of-school attack was reported at 8 a.m. or thereafter Central Daylight Time and happened "in the auditorium in the presence of students" and faculty, according to a Luther Police Department statement. Luther is a town of about 1,221 a half an hour's drive northeast of Oklahoma City.
"They were having an all school assembly inside the performing arts center when, for some reason, the male student allegedly stood up and started stabbing the female student," Mark Opgrande, spokesman for the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, told reporters during an afternoon news conference.
Students and faculty members were able to pin the suspect against a wall, Randall said.
"When he tried to move away students and some teachers held the suspect until other staff members responded," the chief said.
The boy, who has not been identified, was booked into Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center, police said. A weapon was recovered.
When authorities first detained him, "The juvenile suspect was interviewed in the presence of his father, who wished to speak with legal counsel before answering any questions," according to the Luther Police Department's account.
Randall said the school does not have metal detectors or a resource officer.
Teresa Rose Crook, executive director of the Women's Foundation of Oklahoma and the Communities Foundaiton of Okahoma, said the case could represent "another example of mental health issues, both with adolescents as well as adults."
"We need to be taking additional steps to fund and support services to help people identify and deal with issues," she said.