PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Police and emergency officials were called to a stabbing at a mental health facility outside of Pittsburgh.
Officers and emergency crews surrounded the area of West Street at Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health Friday afternoon.
Police say when they arrived on scene they went to the 5th floor and saw a man with a long knife and a handgun with a flashlight attached. It was later discovered that the weapon was a BB gun, but officials said they had no way of knowing that at the time.
Reports indicate several people, including 38-year-old suspect Dustin Johnson, were injured: five individuals were stabbed, one was pistol-whipped and the suspect was shot.
The stabbing victims include two residents and three employees. Four are expected to recover and one is in critical condition.
911 received several calls from stabbing victims and family members who believed they were in danger of losing too much blood, according to Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough.
When Johnson, later identified as former facility patient, continued to brandish the handgun, SWAT shot him several times. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery. At last report he was recovering in the Intensive Care Unit.
“The urgency escalated as the situation went on, at one point the actor continued to brandish weapons, we knew we had to get the victims to medical aid,” Superintendent McDonough said.
From inside the scene, counselor Heather Barilla sent text messages to family describing the terrifying scene.
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“She said she was locked in a room with her supervisor, who had been stabbed. Her supervisor was lying on the floor and she was hiding under a desk,” said stepmother Vicki Dinsmore.
Barilla had already been slashed in the back of head when she made the calls.
Employees worked quickly to get out of the building.
One technician told KDKA she never had any previous issues with Johnson.
“He was nice, he was friendly, he was always respectful to me and I never had any issues with him ever,” the technician said.
Some patients said Johnson was angry because his treatment at the facility was no longer covered by insurance.
When asked about the easy access to the facility, Superintendent McDonough said the elevator to the offices is accessible to the public. He entered the building and began to assault staff almost immediately.
Some witnesses say Johnson also poured gasoline on the floor.
Barrett Elementary School on E. 12th Avenue was locked down, but that lockdown was lifted around 3:30 p.m.
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