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Police arrest student for attempting to rob classmate at knifepoint in Spanaway Lake High

SPANAWAY, Wash. — A Spanaway Lake High School student was arrested Thursday for planning to stab another student in a school bathroom during an attempted robbery, but he was disarmed by other classmates, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said.

At about 7:45 a.m., a 17-year-old boy was arrested for what was first believed to be a robbery attempt. But sheriff’s detectives said the robbery is believed to have been a ruse to draw the victim toward the suspect, so the suspect could stab the victim.

The sheriff's office said the suspect had placed a steak knife in his backpack and, when he got to school, he waited in a bathroom stall for a random student to come into the bathroom. When one entered, the suspect came out of the stall with the knife, demanded the victim's wallet and threatened him with the knife, detectives said.

The victim ran out of the bathroom and down a crowded hallway, with the suspect following him. The suspect then stopped and walked back to the bathroom. He stood in the doorway and pointed the knife at other students in the hallway, the sheriff's office said.

"Students were able to disarm the subject," the sheriff's office said.

There were no injuries.

Bethel School District officials praised the bravery and quick action of the suspect's classmates.

"We hear in the news all the time about situations like this that end way worse and this one because of our students coming in, showing this level of maturity to diffuse this situation," said Doug Boyles with the district.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said in a news release the suspect suffers from mental health issues.

"Deputies have determined that the 17-year-old suspect has several mental health issues, has been hearing voices, and has reportedly been thinking about harming other people and planning the incident for some time," the sheriff's office said.

He was arrested for investigation of first-degree attempted robbery, having a dangerous weapon on school property, and intimidation.