News

Officials seek motive in school stabbing spree

Officials seek motive in school stabbing spree

SCHOOL STABBING:A still image from video footage courtesy WPXI-TV shows stabbing suspect Alex Hribal dressed in a hospital gown after his arraignment with Sheriff's deputies in Export, Pennsylvania April 9. Photo: Reuters/WPXI-TV

(Reuters) – Pennsylvania officials sought a motive on Thursday for a stabbing rampage at a high school after a 16-year-old student was accused of wielding two knives and wounding nearly two dozen people.

The attacker stalked through Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, stabbing victims in the torso and slashing their arms and faces before being tackled by an assistant principal, officials and students said.

Murrysville Police Department Captain Rob Liermann said 16-year-old sophomore Alex Hribal was taken into custody and charged with attempted homicide.

He had had no psychiatric or disciplinary problems, and his family described him as a good student who mingled well with others, family attorney Patrick Thomassey told ABC News.

“His parents are devastated and send their condolences to everybody involved,” Thomassey said. “They can’t figure it out.”

While the United States has seen a series of large-scale shootings in public places in recent years, 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.

A classmate described Hribal as a quiet loner.

The high school will be closed for the next two to three days while police conduct an investigation, officials said.

The victims were aged mostly 14 to 17 years. Several had life-threatening injuries, hospital officials said.

Twenty-one students and a security officer were stabbed in the incident, said Dan Stevens, a spokesman for Westmoreland County emergency management.

One 17-year-old was left severely injured after a knife passed through the liver, diaphragm and major blood vessels, though it missed his heart and his aorta.

On Wednesday evening community members held candle-light vigils for the wounded.

Among them was 14-year-old Mikala Boyer who said she fled as the attack unfolded, but her friend was badly injured.

“Someone came running down the hallway screaming ‘this kid has a knife and he’s stabbing people’ … I ran outside into the woods behind the school,” she said.

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; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York, Dave Warner in Philadelphia and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by John Stonestreet)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

‘Rush Hour’ could be headed to the small screen

Fresh
rushhour

The series will reportedly follow the style of the movies.

in Music

Malcolm Young’s nephew to replace him in AC/DC

Fresh
Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, Angus Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC
Premiere of 'AC/DC - Live at River Plate' at Hammersmith Apollo - Arrivals London, England - 06.05.11

Rockers AC/DC are planning to keep it in the family when it comes to replacing guitarist Malcolm Young in the line-up.

in Music

Jimmy Page wants to form new group

Fresh
jimmypage

The rocker has given up dreams of reuniting Led Zeppelin and wants to form a new band for a career-spanning tour.

in Music

Stevie Wonder to helm Hollywood Christmas parade

Fresh
stevie

The "Superstition" hitmaker will lead one of America's largest holiday celebrations on the streets of L.A.

in Music

Anita Baker faces another legal battle

anitabaker

The star's problems are now mounting after her attorney filed suit claiming she owes him money for a year of work.