Sophomore Alex Hribal was charged with attempted homicide and
aggravated assault after allegedly using 8-inch steel blades in a
stabbing frenzy through the hallways of Franklin Regional High
School in Murrysville near Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
A security guard and 21 students were wounded before the suspect was
tackled by an assistant principal, officials and students said.
Three teenage boys remained hospitalized in critical condition with
stab wounds, while other survivors and witnesses struggled on
Thursday to find an explanation for the attack.
The teen had no psychiatric or disciplinary problems, and his family
described him as a good student who played hockey and mingled well
with others, said family lawyer Patrick Thomassey.
"He's upset. He can't believe he did this," Thomassey told reporters
outside Westmoreland County Juvenile Detention Center where he had a
meeting with the teen.
"He's scared and remorseful," he said. "He hurt his friends."
Hribal spent the night before the attack with his parents, who the
attorney described as "devastated."
"They certainly didn't see this coming," he said. "He's just a good
kid and he comes from a great family."
The lawyer said he wants the teen to undergo psychiatric evaluation
and to be moved into the juvenile court system. He has been charged
as an adult.
"We have to figure out why this happened," Thomassey said.
Student athlete Brett Hurt, 16, described how he was goofing around
with a friend before classes in the crowded hallway when suddenly it
was filled with screams and, moments later, he was stabbed in the
"That's just when everything went into straight chaos," he told
reporters at the hospital where he was being treated for his wound
and a bruised lung. "What was going through my mind? Will I survive — or will I die."
He said a friend helped him into a classroom and applied pressure to
the wound to stanch the bleeding. Hurt, a weight lifter, said he had
met Hribal only a couple of times, but harbored no ill will toward
"I've been thinking, maybe if he had more friends or somebody to
help him out, to show him a different path. Maybe it would have been
different," he said.
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While the United States in recent years has seen numerous
large-scale shootings in public places, including schools, movie
theaters and shopping areas, mass stabbings are less common.
Police and the FBI on Wednesday searched the suspect's home.
Neighbors said both parents work, and the teen has a brother who
also attends Franklin Regional High School.
The high school will be closed, probably until Monday, while police
conduct an investigation, officials said.
Murrysville Police Chief Tom Seefeld told CNN that authorities were
investigating a report of a threat made the night before the
stabbings, but had no evidence to support that.
Most of the victims were 14 to 17 years old.
Among the most seriously injured was a 17-year-old boy, who remained
in critical condition following surgery at UPMC Presbyterian, a
hospital spokeswoman said. A knife blade passed through his liver,
diaphragm and some major blood vessels but missed his heart and
Eight other teenage boys were recovering in two other hospitals,
including two who were in critical condition and may require more
Hribal faces four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of
aggravated assault, police said. He was ordered to face a
preliminary hearing in seven to 10 days.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Daley in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, Jonathan
Allen in New York, Dave Warner in Philadelphia, Brendan O'Brien in
Milwaukee, and Doina Chiacu in Washington; writing by Eric M.
Johnson; editing by Scott Malone, John Stonestreet, Bernadette Baum,
Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)
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