A small community in northern Norway was shaken this week after a man in his early 60s stabbed a 13-year-old girl as she walked to school on Monday morning. The school’s principal found the girl bleeding profusely on the steps of Borkenes School in Kvæfjord, Troms County.
“I sat with her and held her feet up in the air,” principal Bodil Røkenes told news bureau NTB. She’d been alerted that there was an “episode” in the schoolyard, and ran out to help. She and some of the school’s teachers ended up actively applying first aid until ambulances arrived.
The bizarre and unprovoked attack occurred as the girl was walking through the churchyard that’s adjacent to the school in the small coastal town of Borkenes. The defendant, a man in his early 60s with a police record, suddenly confronted her and stabbed her in the stomach region for no known reason. She managed to stumble the next 150 meters to the schoolyard, before collapsing on the stairs.
“Folks just can’t believe something like this could happen,” Mayor Torbjorn Larsen told NTB. “And I can understand that. We live in a peaceful and beautiful small town and such things normally don’t happen here. This is something that should never happen here.”
The man was quickly apprehended by police and admitted that “he’d done something stupid,” Geir Pedersen, police station chief in the nearby city of Harstad, told newspaper Aftenposten. “He said he’d stabbed a girl. That’s as much as we’ve gotten out of him, though.”
The local man, who has had ties to what Norwegians call the local rusmiljø (drug addicts), was taken to the hospital in Harstad for observation and for drug and alcohol testing. He would also be evaluated for psychiatric treatment.
The girl, meanwhile, was rushed to hospital first in Harstad and then flown to the University Hospital for Northern Norway in Tromsø for further treatment. Her condition was later listed as serious but stable. “The doctors said she was doing well,” hospital spokesman Jan Fredrik Frantzen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Meanwhile, the community of Borkenes called in a local crisis team to help students at the school, teachers and parents deal with the incident. Several of the students and seen their schoolmate bleeding, many of the children at the school were crying and said they were scared, and some were sent home. Røkenes said that most, however, were handling the situation “reasonably well,” despite the shock.
The mayor said the community would offer support to the girl and her parents, and that students at the school would “be getting more adult contact” this week than normal. “There will be lots of grownups around to talk with, share thoughts with and help make the days easier,” Larsen said.