UPDATE, Wednesday morning: Burke students said on social media that they were wearing white or blue today for 15-year-old Lacey Paige. Both Paige and her alleged assailant, Nick Cisar, 16, were listed in serious condition Wednesday at the hospital.
They had dated and broken up, their classmates say.
Tuesday, authorities allege, Nick Cisar, 16, cut sophomore Lacey Paige in the abdomen and back outside the Junior ROTC assembly room in the basement of Burke High School. Cisar then tried to slash his own throat, sources say.
An Omaha police school resource officer responded swiftly and tended to both — and authorities put the school on lockdown for about an hour.
Both Paige, 15, and Cisar were taken to Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy in critical condition. Both were listed in serious condition Wednesday morning. Students posting on social media Wednesday said they were wearing white or blue today for Paige.
Facebook and other social media posts show Cisar posing with his trumpet and in marching band T-shirts. On Instagram he described himself as a “gamer” and a junior at Burke. Paige is shown with curly brown hair and bright brown eyes. Under one of her photos, Cisar commented: “You go girl.”
A Burke sophomore described Paige, who was in honors English, as “really nice, smart and quiet” in class.
Their fellow students said the stabbing capped an eerie couple of days at the school, which is near 120th Street and West Dodge Road. Friday, there were rumors of a school shooting threat — rumors that led some students to stay home. Monday brought an unsubstantiated rumor of a bomb threat.
Tuesday, things had seemed to return to normal, said sophomores Jake Fox and Hunter Eichelberger.
Then, just before 2 p.m., someone pulled a fire alarm — or something set off the alarm — just after the last period of the day began. Students shuffled out, standing in the rain for about 20 minutes.
Fifteen minutes after they returned to class, an administrator announced over the intercom that the school was going into lockdown.
“I could hear the terror in her voice,” Fox said. “Everyone seemed really alarmed. We were genuinely scared for our lives. You could see the shock and fear on people’s faces.”
Maki Mirzoeva, a freshman at Burke, was in the school’s band classroom but was called to the administrative office about the time of the stabbing. At the office, she heard school staff say “there’s blood” and saw administrators running and yelling.
Then the school was placed in lockdown. Mirzoeva said she waited in the office, where staff told the students that everything would be OK.
It made Mirzoeva think it might be a drill. Then she remembered the blood and the running.
“I was just panicking there,” she said. “Sitting down. Panicking. Full mode panic.”
In the classrooms, teachers closed the doors and students proceeded to the “blind corners” — those parts of a class that can’t be seen from the window in the door. Then texts started flying. Between students. From children to parents. Fox said he texted his parents that he was OK; they told him to remain calm.
Within three minutes, Fox said, he received word, via text, that there had been a stabbing.
The school remained on lockdown for about an hour. Once released, Eichelberger said, the students emerged from the building to quite a scene.
“It was kind of chaos,” he said. “The parking lot was crazy. All the parents pulled up and were trying to get in, which you can understand.”
Outside school, parents had waited anxiously as the school remained on lockdown. Phones were checked repeatedly. All eyes focused on the school’s entrance.
There was traffic around the school for blocks. Lines of cars parked along the street. Some parents waited in their cars. Others stood near school doors under umbrellas or got soaked.
“I’m sorry,” said two parents when stopped by a reporter. “Our hearts are just beating too fast.”
When reunited, many kids and parents left the parking lot arm in arm or holding hands.
Burke Principal Gaye Lannan commended students’ “maturity” in their response Tuesday. Lannan reassured parents that Omaha police will post additional police officers at the school Wednesday. She also postponed a practice SAT test that had been scheduled for Wednesday until later in October.
“This was an isolated incident and not related to any previous rumored threats,” Lannan said. “Our students did a phenomenal job of doing what they have practiced and following directions from staff. We emphasize that the safety of students and staff is our top priority.”
Omaha Police Officer Phil Anson said “the on-scene school resource officer was able to respond immediately and ask for assistance over radio, which got more officers on scene very quickly.”
Several police cars were in front of the school after the incident. Normal dismissal time is 3:05 p.m., but dismissal was delayed as police officers went room to room.
Students were released after 3:40 p.m., and school buses were operating. All after-school Burke High activities were canceled.
Fox said he hopes for the best for Paige — and hopes everything calms down at school.
“I feel safe at Burke,” Fox said. “A day like today can really make you consider the possibilities of what can happen.”
World-Herald staff writer Alia Conley contributed to this report.