President Obama has been briefed on the mass stabbing at a high school in the Pittsburgh area on Wednesday, and the White House said his “thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."

A 16-year-old student at Pennsylvania's Franklin Regional High School stabbed at least 20 people at the start of the school day, according to media reports. A handful of students are in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

Obama was updated on the latest episode of school violence as he traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, for a memorial service to honor the victims of a mass shooting last week at the military installation. It’s the second time Obama has made remarks at Fort Hood in the wake of a mass shooting at the Texas military post.

As for the Pennsylvania stabbings, it’s not yet known what motivated the alleged suspect in the case.

The president has been forced to play comforter-in-chief with increasing regularity after a number of incidents of mass violence in recent years.

Earlier Wednesday, the White House said Obama was saddened to return to Fort Hood on yet another somber occasion.

“He is deeply saddened by the fact that he's making a trip to Fort Hood again for a memorial ceremony,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “He will meet with families of the deceased, as well as of the wounded, and offer whatever comfort he can.”

The White House did not weigh in on whether the president believed military personnel should be allowed to carry guns while on base.