“We counted to three and ran,” say Barcelona school attack students

Pupils recount the panic as a classmate attacked them with a crossbow and knife

Students from the Joan Fuster High School in Barcelona.
Students from the Joan Fuster High School in Barcelona.Consuelo Bautista

The classrooms where the two groups of second-year students who witnessed the attack at Joan Fuster High School in Barcelona take their lessons are located right next to each other, on the second floor.

The 13-year-old student who allegedly killed a teacher with a crossbow and dagger on Monday morning took classes in 2B; his victim taught in 2C.

“We started to hear screaming next door, and the teacher went out to see what was going on,” says a 14-year-old who was in class at the time. Their instructor was a substitute who had been covering for the regular social sciences teacher for the last two weeks.

We’re OK physically, but we’re scared”

Student at Joan Fuster High

A moment later, his students looked out the window and saw their teacher sprawled on the floor with a wound to his stomach.

“We all huddled in a corner together,” continues the witness. The attacker then entered the second classroom and a classmate who knew him better than the rest of the group asked him to stop.

“He came over and stabbed him as well,” explains another youth.

The group then decided to act as one. “We counted to three and ran out to the schoolyard.”

The attacker was ultimately overpowered by the gym teacher inside the second-floor bathrooms. The rest of the students were told to run out to the yard as the school’s emergency bell went off. Many youngsters were not aware of what was going on as they made their way outside.

“We found out because we saw people crying. His sister was screaming, everybody was screaming in a panic, we didn’t know what was happening,” said another youth in reference to the attacker’s sister, who attends the same school.

A woman speaks on a cellphone outside the high school in Barcelona.
A woman speaks on a cellphone outside the high school in Barcelona.Emilio Morenatti (AP)

At 12.30pm, many of the teenagers were still unaware of the tragic end to the morning’s events. “I think my teacher is dead, but I don’t really know,” said one of the second years.

“We’re OK physically, but we’re scared,” added another.

Many of them repeated the rumor that the attacker had written up a list of teachers and students he meant to kill, although this has not yet been officially confirmed.

Most students described the attacker as “a normal kid from a normal family.” But some sources said he had psychological problems.

The suspect has been taken to the psychiatric department of a Barcelona hospital, where he will undergo an evaluation and be transferred to the Catalan government’s department for juvenile affairs.

Under Spanish law, minors cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions, and cannot be arrested.

Hospital sources told newswire EFE that the four people injured include a teacher, who suffered bruising to her face; her 13-year-old daughter, who has flesh wounds; and another 14-year-old student who has a stab wound to the chest but is in stable condition.

The teacher has since been discharged from hospital but the two students remain in hospital under observation. Both youngsters were “out of danger,” the sources said.

Another teacher was treated on the scene before being released.

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