(MURRYSVILLE, Pa.) — The 16-year-old student who police say stabbed 22 people at his Pennsylvania high school Wednesday had no psychiatric problems and had never been in trouble prior to the incident, his family’s attorney said.
Attorney Patrick Thomassey said Alex Hribal’s family sat down for dinner each night. He described the teen as a good student who mingles well with others.
“His parents are devastated and send their condolences to everybody involved,” Thomassey told ABC News. “They can’t figure it out.”
Thomassey painted a different picture of Hribal than some of his classmates at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, a suburb located about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh. Morgan Ritchey, who said she had two classes with Hribal, described him as being “a little misunderstood.”
“I just always felt like he had a different side to him that nobody knew and it was like hard to uncover,” said Ritchey.
Hribal, a sophomore, used two 8-to-10 inch “kitchen-type” “straight” knives in the attack, which started shortly after 7 a.m., police said.
According to a police affidavit, Murrysville Police Officer William “Buzz” Yakshe, a school resource officer, heard a disturbance in the hallway and went to find out what was happening along with a school security guard.
The guard and officer split up. The next time Yakshe saw the guard, he was leaning against a wall, bleeding from his stomach.
Sam King, the school’s assistant principal, told police he saw Hribal stab the security guard. King tackled the teen and subdued him while Yakshe handcuffed him.
King heard one of the victims say, “I’ve been stabbed,” he told police.
Authorities charged Hribal as an adult with four counts of attempted criminal homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of weapons on school property. He was being held without bail in a juvenile detention center in Westmoreland County.
Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said someone pulled a fire alarm during the attack, raising attention and getting students and teachers to evacuate.
“When we got there we saw a hallway in chaos, as you can imagine,” Seefeld said at a press conference. “There was a lot of evidence of blood on the floors and in the hallway, we had students running about, trying to get out of the area.”
At least 22 people were injured after the stabbings at the start of the school day, Westmoreland County emergency management spokesman Dan Stevens said.
The motive for the rampage remains under investigation. Seefeld said they were not aware of any warning signs from the suspect, a sophomore at the school.
At least four people with injuries emergency management officials described as “serious” were flown to area hospitals for treatment. Others were not actually stabbed, Stevens said, and some of their injuries included cuts and scrapes.
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