Teen Charged With Stabbing 22 at Pittsburgh-Area High School


Flailing away with two kitchen knives, a 16-year-old boy with a "blank expression" stabbed and slashed 21 students and a security guard in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him.

At least five students were critically wounded, including a boy whose liver was pierced by a knife thrust that narrowly missed his heart and aorta, doctors said. Others also suffered deep abdominal puncture wounds.

The rampage - which came after decades in which U.S. schools geared much of their emergency planning toward mass shootings, not stabbings - set off a screaming stampede, left blood on the floor and walls, and brought teachers rushing to help the victims.

Police shed little light on the motive.

The suspect, Alex Hribal, was taken into custody and treated for a minor hand wound, then was brought into court in shackles and a hospital gown and charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. He was jailed without bail, and authorities said he would be prosecuted as an adult.

His attorney did not immediately respond to a message for comment.

The attack unfolded in the morning just minutes before the start of classes at 1,200-student Franklin Regional High School, in an upper-middle-class area 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. It was over in about five minutes, during which the boy ran wildly down about 200 feet of hallway, slashing away with knives about 8 to 10 inches long, police said.

Nate Moore, 15, said he saw the boy tackle and stab a freshman. He said he going to try to break it up when the boy got up and slashed his face, opening a wound that required 11 stitches.

"It was really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face. It spurted up on my forehead," he said.

The attacker "had the same expression on his face that he has every day, which was the freakiest part," Moore said. "He wasn't saying anything. He didn't have any anger on his face. It was just a blank expression."

Assistant Principal Sam King finally tackled the boy and disarmed him, and a Murrysville police officer who is regularly assigned to the school handcuffed him, police said.

King's son told The Associated Press that his father was treated at a hospital, though authorities have said he did not suffer any knife wounds.

"He says he's OK. He's a tough cookie and sometimes hides things, but I believe he's OK," Zack King said. He added: "I'm proud of him."

In addition to the 22 who were stabbed or slashed, two people suffered other injuries during the melee, authorities said. The security guard, who was wounded after intervening early in the melee, was treated and released.

"There are a number of heroes in this day. Many of them are students," Gov. Tom Corbett said in a visit to the stricken town. "Students who stayed with their friends and didn't leave their friends."

As for what set off the attack, Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said investigators were looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before. Seefeld didn't specify whether the suspect received or made the call.

The FBI joined the investigation and went to the boy's house, where authorities said they planned to confiscate and search his computer.

"They are a very, very nice family. A great family. We never saw anything out of the ordinary," said John Kukalis, a next-door neighbor for about 13 years.

His wife, Sonya Kukalis, said: "It should be an eye-opener for everybody. Everyone always thinks it's the other neighborhood, the other town. We need to be kinder and show compassion to more people. Something must have been going on for him to do this."

While several bloody stabbing rampages at schools in China have made headlines in the past few years, schools in the U.S. have concentrated their emergency preparations on shooting rampages.

Nevertheless, there have been at least two major stabbing attacks at U.S. schools over the past year, one at a community college in Texas last April that wounded at least 14 people, and another, also in Texas, that killed a 17-year-old student and injured three others at a high school in September.

On Wednesday, Mia Meixner, 16, said the rampage touched off a "stampede of kids" yelling, "Run! Get out of here! Someone has a knife!"

The boy had a "blank look," she said. "He was just kind of looking like he always does, not smiling, not scowling or frowning."

Meixner and Moore called the attacker a shy boy who largely kept to himself, but they said he was not an outcast and they had no reason to think he might be violent.

"He was never mean to anyone, and I never saw people be mean to him," Meixner said. "I never saw him with a particular group of friends."

Michael Float, 18, said he had just gotten to school when he saw "blood all over the floor" and smeared on the wall near the main entrance. Then he saw a wounded student.

"He had his shirt pulled up and he was screaming, `Help! Help!'" Float said. "He had a stab wound right at the top right of his stomach, blood pouring down."

Float said he saw a teacher applying pressure to the wound of another student.

About five minutes elapsed between the time the campus police officer summoned help over the radio at 7:13 a.m. and the boy was disarmed, the police chief said.

Someone, possibly a student, pulled a fire alarm during the attack, Seefeld said. Although that created chaos, the police chief said, it emptied out the school more quickly, and "that was a good thing that that was done."

Also, a girl with "an amazing amount of composure" applied pressure to a schoolmate's wounds and probably kept the victim from bleeding to death, said Dr. Mark Rubino at Forbes Regional Medical Center.

Public safety and school officials said an emergency plan worked as well as could be expected. The district conducted an emergency exercise three months ago and a full-scale drill about a year ago.

"We haven't lost a life, and I think that's what we have to keep in mind," said county public safety spokesman Dan Stevens.

PREVIOUS STORY:

A 16-year-old boy accused of stabbing and slashing 19 students and a police officer at a suburban Pittsburgh high school is appearing before a judge.

Authorities haven't identified the boy. But he appeared before Magisterial District Judge Charles Conway on Wednesday afternoon in Export, about 5 miles from the Murrysville high school. Charges are expected to be filed soon.

The boy was shackled by his hands and feet and was dressed in a hospital gown.

Witnesses say the boy tackled a freshman and stabbed him in the belly on Wednesday morning and then got up and ran wildly down a hall, slashing other students. They say he had a blank expression on his face before an assistant principal tackled him.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Previous Story

(NBC News) A 16-year-old is in custody following an early morning stabbing spree at a Pennsylvania high school.

Nearly two dozen people were injured, many of them seriously, the knife-wielding student began attacking classmates and staff.

Several injuries were classified as "life threatening", however doctors at the hospital treating the most seriously wounded say all patients are expected to survive.

The rampage ended when a school security guard and assistant principal wrestled the a 16-year-old to the ground.

The security guard suffered stab wounds in the process.

READ MORE: http://nbcnews.to/1k48iBg


Previous Story

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A police chief says a 16-year-old boy "was flashing two knives around" when he injured 19 students and a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal at a high school near Pittsburgh.

Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld says the bloody crime scene left behind Wednesday at Franklin Regional High School is "vast" and may take a couple of days to process.

Police haven't named the suspect who was taken into custody but says he's being treated for a minor hand wound.

Investigators haven't determined a motive but say they're looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before.

At least two of the victims were in critical condition, though doctors expect all victims to survive.


Previous Story

A doctor says some victims of a multiple stabbing at a high school near Pittsburgh have suffered injuries classified as life-threatening, though all are expected to survive.

Dr. Chris Kaufman says two victims were in the operating room and one was awaiting surgery at Forbes Regional Medical Center, a few miles from Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

Officials say four students were believed to be the most seriously injured Wednesday morning by a fellow student who stabbed or slashed others, injuring as many as 20.

Westmoreland County emergency management spokesman Dan Stevens says not all of the 20 injured were cut by the knife, though most were. Some suffered scrapes and cuts in the mayhem that ensued.

The suspect, a male student, was taken into custody and being questioned.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Previous Story

An official says four students were believed to be seriously injured at a high school near Pittsburgh, where a student with a knife stabbed or slashed others, injuring as many as 20.

Westmoreland County emergency management spokesman Dan Stevens says not all of the 20 injured were cut by the knife, though most were. Some suffered scrapes and cuts in the mayhem that ensued at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville on Wednesday morning.

Stevens says it doesn't appear any students suffered life-threatening injuries. He says all the injured are between 14 and 17 years old.

The suspect, a male student, was taken into custody and being questioned.

Stevens says the suspect used a knife, though he didn't say what kind or why he attacked the others.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Several people were stabbed Wednesday morning at a high school near Pittsburgh, and a suspect was taken into custody, an emergency official said.

Dan Stevens, the spokesman for Westmoreland County emergency management, said five or six people were reported stabbed at about 7:20 a.m. at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, about 15 miles east of Pittsburgh.

It wasn't immediately clear if the suspect and the victims are students, adults or a mix of both. It doesn't appear that any of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries, Stevens said, though several helicopters were seen flying people from the scene to area hospitals.

School officials and Murrysville police didn't immediately return calls seeking further details, but the school issued a bulletin on its website saying: "A critical incident has occurred at the high school. All elementary schools are canceled, the middle school and high school students are secure."

The district serves about 3,600 students who live in the bedroom communities of Murrysville, Export and Delmont. The elementary and middle schools are part of the same campus.

The high school was on lockdown, and students were being kept there as a precaution as school and law enforcement officials double-checked the premises. School officials were making arrangements to bus the middle school students home.

District Attorney John Peck said he was monitoring the situation. Detectives from his office were also investigating, though Peck said he had no information beyond that being reported by Pittsburgh television news stations.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Previous Story

NBC News is now reporting as many as 20 people are hurt following a stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school.

It happened outside Pittsburgh at Franklin Regional High School. Officials say a suspect is in custody.

According to NBC: "Eight people, ranging in age from 15 to 60, were taken to Forbes Regional Hospital, a spokesman said. He said that a ninth patient was being sent to Allegheny General Hospital. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injuries."

We'll continue to update this developing story.


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