COMOX, B.C. -- Three teenagers were rushed to hospital and a fourth was taken into custody following a multiple-stabbing incident in Comox Saturday evening.

The incident unfolded shortly before 10 p.m. in front of a gathering of between 20 and 50 people in an empty gravel pit area along Prichard Road.

Ryley Stevenson says his friend’s younger brother Grayden was one of the stabbing victims.

“I heard about everything that happened last night,” Ryley Stevenson told CTV News Vancouver Island. “I was in shock. Didn’t expect anything like that to happen in this town, especially (to) kids that we know, such young kids. It’s crazy.”

The three victims as well as the suspect taken into custody are all believed to be around 15 or 16 years old.

An online post by someone who appears to be the victim’s mother reads: “I want to say thank you so much for all the love and support for Grayden. For those who don’t know what has happened, Grayden and two of his friends were stabbed last night. They were trying to diffuse a situation that got out of control.”

The parent indicated their son was in good spirits after having surgery on his bowel and experienced a severed abdomen.

“He had stitches that needed to get done in his bowel and stuff, so it’s pretty brutal but it’s good to see that he’s doing okay,” the post says.

Another post showing a second young teen laying in a hospital bed reads: “On behalf of me and my family, thank you for the overwhelming amount of support. Ben’s doing good.”

The altercation apparently occurred when a fight broke out between two teens and others tried to intervene.

“We heard there was a beef between the two kids and apparently people just tried to split it up and then it got bad,” Stevenson says.

“A few of the kids wanted to stop the fight and stepped in to try to shut everything down and then one kid just pulled out a knife and stuff went bad from there.”

News of the disturbing incident quickly circulated through text and on social media.

“Everybody that was at the party here, they were freaking out because they just saw it so they were just texting everybody and then there were a lot of stories going around,” says Dante Lazzari, who is also friends with some of the victims.

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott says the town’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families. He says he first heard of the incident around 8 a.m. on Sunday. He says he immediately reached out to the inspector of the Courtenay RCMP detachment.

“He explained that there were two youths in stable condition, one in serious condition and I understand that two have been medevac’d out,” Arnott says.

The mayor says the pit has been a problem spot for parties in the past and the town has taken steps to try to discourage visitors by putting up no parking signs. More will be done in the coming days, he says.

“We’re going to be looking at this tomorrow, seeing if there’s anything that we can do to prevent similar issues like this happening,” he says.

“We need to be talking to our kids,” the mayor added. “They need to be seeing us taking Covid seriously and not going in groups and the kids need to do the same. It’s up to parents, a lot, to educate kids on the seriousness of getting together in groups and ultimately to prevent something serious like this happening.”

An RCMP officer looking for evidence at the crime scene Sunday morning indicated police were aware many of the teenagers attending the illegal gathering had actually been dropped off at the location by their parents.