ANCHORAGE -- A man who used a mental health counseling center for an address was arrested Monday after four children were stabbed at an elementary school.
Jason Pritchard, 33, of Anchorage was charged with four counts of first-degree attempted murder and four counts of first-degree assault. He was being held at Cook Inlet Pre-trial Facility on $2 million bail.
All the children were stabbed in the neck with what police described as a filet knife. They were in serious condition after undergoing surgery.
One of the children was stabbed outside Mountain View Elemen-tary School as students waited in the playground for the breakfast program to begin, said Anchorage Police Chief Walt Monegan. The students ran into the school and the suspect followed, attacking three more children inside a classroom where they were hiding with a teacher.
Pupil Ashley Smith, 11, said her brothers Billy Moy, 8, and Eric Moy, 9, both were cut on their necks.
''This man, something was wrong with him. He was on drugs or something,'' she said. Her grandfather, Keith Leonard, said both boys had undergone surgery and were doing well.
The other children were identified as Cody Brown, 8, and Stephan Hansell, 7.
Kevin Bruno 12, said he was right next to the man when the first child was stabbed.
''He was stabbing the kid. I hit him,'' he said.
Vincia Bruno, the boy's mother, said she was going to spend the day comforting her son and going over what happened.
''This is not something that you expect to happen when you wake up in the morning. It is overwhelming,'' she said.
Randy Smith, chairman of the local community patrol, was among the first to arrive at the school. He found the suspect in the classroom with the teacher and an injured boy.
''He was threatening everybody. He came toward us a couple of times. We kept him from getting out of the classroom,'' Smith said. ''He was rambling and saying religious stuff, stuff that made no sense.''
The man had broken a window on a classroom door and had thrown desks into the hallway, Smith said. ''There was glass everywhere. The kid was crying on the floor. It was pretty confusing,'' Smith said.
At least one of the students ran bleeding down a hallway after being attacked, said Ron McGee, a spokesperson for the Anchorage Police Department.
''There's blood all over the school, a lot of blood all over the hallway,'' he said.
The teacher used a desk to shield the injured boy from the suspect, Monegan said.
Police shot Pritchard with three bean bag-type projectiles. He was hit in the leg and arm and finally dropped the knife when hit in the hand, McGee said. Pritchard was hospitalized briefly before being jailed.
McGee said Pritchard could have been delusional.
''I've heard reports that he was muttering things about taking people back to God,'' McGee said.
About 20 pupils witnessed the attack.
Pritchard has been arrested 13 times since 1994 on charges that included assault, stalking, criminal trespassing and driving while intoxicated, police said.
Pritchard had used the Southcentral Counseling Center in Anchorage as a mailing address. Executive Director Ken Taylor described the center as serving people with severe mental illness. Confidentiality agreements prevented him from talking about Pritchard or even verifying that he knew him, Taylor said.
Police said it appeared that Pritchard had been living in his car.
After the attack, pupils were bused to nearby Tyson Elementary School, where school officials conducted a head count before releasing the youngsters to their parents.
Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau said security procedures at all the schools would be reviewed. Middle schools and high schools have security personnel on site, but it was felt that elementary schools didn't need them, she said.
Classes at Mountain View elementary were canceled for Tuesday, Comeau said, and counseling would be provided to students and parents.
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