Emergency personnel gather outside Franklin Regional High
School after reports of the stabbing, in this still taken
from video. REUTERS/WPXI/Handout via Reuters
A 16-year-old student wielding two knives went on a
stabbing rampage in the hallways of a Pittsburgh-area high
school, wounding 22 people before he was tackled by an
The attacker moved furtively through the halls of Franklin
Regional High School in Murrysville, stabbing his victims in
the torso and slashing their arms and faces, students and
officials said. Some of the injured taken to nearby hospitals
were listed in critical condition.
Alex Hribal, a 16-year-old sophomore, was taken into custody,
said Captain Rob Liermann of the Murrysville Police
Charged as an adult, Hribal faces four counts of attempted
homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault, Liermann said,
and was ordered to face a preliminary hearing in seven to 10
Students described a scene of panic, with the school hastily
evacuated after a fire alarm was pulled.
"He did it so stealthily that at first no one knew what was
happening," freshman Josh Frank said. "We heard a girl scream
bloody murder. Then two seniors were running down the hall
and we followed them out of the school."
The attacker, described by a classmate as a quiet boy who
kept to himself, began the stabbings at around 7.13am (local
time), walking along the hallways to several classrooms at
the school in Murrysville, 20 miles (32 km) east of
Pittsburgh, officials said.
Assistant Principal Sam King tackled the boy, who was armed
with two straight knives about 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm)
long, and an armed security officer handcuffed him with help
from King, said Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld.
Twenty-one students and a security officer were stabbed in
the incident, said Dan Stevens, a spokesman for Westmoreland
County emergency management. Two other students suffered
minor injuries trying to get out of the school, Stevens
added. He said the teenage suspect was not counted among the
The suspect was also being treated for injuries to his hands,
Seefeld said. By late afternoon, he said, one or two of the
victims were "still pretty critical."
Among those praised for heroics during the incident was Nate
Scimio, the student who pulled the fire alarm and helped
shield classmates, witnesses said.
"There's not enough words to describe how much of a hero he
is," classmate Trinity McCool posted on Facebook.
The victims, most of them 14 to 17 years old, were
transported to area hospitals, four by medical helicopters.
Several had life-threatening injuries, hospital officials
Dr. Louis Alarcon of the University of Pittsburgh Medical
Center operated on a 17-year-old student and said he had "a
large injury to his abdominal wall." The knife "went through
his liver, diaphragm and major blood vessels," he said.
"Fortunately for this young man, the knife missed his heart
and his aorta."
While the United States has seen a number of large-scale
school shootings in recent years, mass stabbings are less
Police and the FBI were searching the suspect's home,
situated at the end of a quiet cul de sac. Neighbors said
both parents work, and the teen has a brother who also
attends Franklin Regional High School.
'A SHADOW IN THE HALLWAYS'
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said he had ordered state
police to help local law enforcement respond to the incident.
The FBI also said it had deployed agents to work with local
The high school will be closed for the next two to three days
while police conduct an investigation, officials said.
"I don't know him really well, but he's always said 'hi',"
said neighbor Lori Renda, 47, who said he played with her own
children. "The family is so nice. Very, very nice."
As they were reunited with parents near the hilltop high
school in the relatively affluent Pittsburgh suburb with a
population of about 20,000, teens spoke about the incident.
Michael Float, an 18-year-old senior, described running down
a staircase and finding a friend badly wounded.
"There was a pool of blood," Float said. "He had blood
pouring down the right side of his stomach," and a teacher
was applying pressure on the wound.
Zak Amsler, a 17-year-old junior, said the attack occurred
just before his first class was about to begin.
"I saw a girl with blood running out of her sleeve," Amsler
said as he waited to pick up his younger sister, a student at
the nearby middle school. "It was pretty mind-blowing."
On Wednesday evening members of the community held
candle-light vigils for the wounded.
Kaitlyn Pepper, holding a candle in front of Calvary Lutheran
Church, said that she now attends another high school but
knows the suspect from her time at Franklin.
"He was literally a shadow in the hallways. They said he had
a girlfriend who goes to another school, but I don't know. No
one really knew of him. But they know him today." Pepper