Brandon Brown is a musician and an honor student who loves to write, even penning a few hypothetical episodes of his favorite show, "Breaking Bad" for his own amusement.
"He loves music, loves the outdoors. We go deer hunting, fishing, We were planning on going fishing this weekend," said his father, Jason Brown.
The 14-year-old freshman was heading from his locker to the band room at Franklin Regional Wednesday morning to drop off his clarinet when he spotted a friend and headed over.
A kid he didn't recognize ran up to him and at first, Brandon thought he'd been punched in the stomach.
"He fell to the ground. He was thinking, 'Why did you punch me?' " his father said.
As Brandon struggled to get to his feet, another student ran up to him and said, "You're bleeding.''
With the help of some classmates, he was able to walk to the nurse's office on the same floor, though as he made his way down the hall, "he was bleeding everywhere; everyone was screaming; everything was still going on,'' Mr. Brown said.
In the nurse's office, a school counselor applied pressure to the wound until paramedics arrived and Brandon was life-flighted to Children's Hospital.
Brandon lives with his mother, Monica Brown, in the Murrysville area. She and his father, Jason, are divorced and Mr. Brown lives in nearby Penn Hills. He was still at home when Brandon's stepmother told him there had been a stabbing at Franklin Regional.
Mr. Brown got in his truck and started heading toward the high school when he got a call from Children's Hospital telling him that his son had been admitted with a critical stab wound.
"I did a U-turn and started heading toward Pittsburgh,'' he said.
By Friday afternoon, Brandon was well enough to receive a pack of visitors in his hospital room at Children's.
"He's been really good,'' his father said Friday evening. "He's tired, he sleeps a lot but he's been very calm. They told me he was very calm before the surgery. It seems like he's doing well."
James O'Toole: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1562.