by Maria Gerbic
16-year-old sophomore Alex Hribal was taken into custody on Wednesday, April 9 after stabbing 21 students and a security guard. No victims were killed, but several were seriously injured. Law enforcement officials are working with evidence from the boy’s home to find a motive for the horrific attack. They are looking into two threatening phone calls from the night before the incident, reportedly between Hribal and two male students. Hribal will be charged as an adult with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault.
Shortly before classes began on Wednesday, students were gathered around their lockers when what seemed to be a fight broke out in the hallway. Shockingly, it wasn’t a fight, but a stabbing. 5 foot, 100 lb. sophomore Alex Hribal was stabbing his victims randomly with two kitchen knives. According to CNN, Student Mia Meixner said that the boy was very quiet during the attack. She said, “He had this, like, look on his face that he was just crazy and he was just running around just stabbing whoever was in his way.” The hallways turned to chaos, and those who were stabbed were helped by their peers and teachers as they attempted to stop the bleeding. After 5 minutes of the rampage, Assistant Principal Sam King tackled the suspect, putting an end to the stabbing spree. Student Brett Hurt is being hailed a hero because he jumped in front of 17-year-old Gracey Evans, and was stabbed in the back. He suffered a bruised lung, but returned to school along with several other injured classmates on Tuesday, April 15. Several of the victims were critically injured and are still in the hospital.
The small town of Murraysville, Pennsylvania was shocked when they learned that Hribal, who came from a loving, supportive family, could commit such a violent crime. There are mixed reports from students on Hribal’s personality. Some say that he was not a loner and had a small group of friends, while others believe that the teenager was bullied. The mother of Brett Hurt, one of the victims of Hribal, believes that the boy must have been bullied. Amanda Hurt took the incident as a wakeup call for parents everywhere. She said, “…We need to look and say, how are our children coping with social skills these days? How are they with other children? How are they being tested in the world for negative or positive ways?” Hribal’s attorney and a classmate of Alex Hribal both said that the boy kept to himself and never got into any trouble. He will undergo a psychiatric evaluation and his attorney, Patrick Thomassey, is attempting to move his client to a juvenile court. The boy’s family is also puzzled about what triggered the attacks, because he has never showed any signs of mental illness. Investigators are hoping to come to a conclusion about what triggered the attacks in the next few weeks.