20 injured in Pittsburgh-area high school stabbings

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MURRYSVILLE, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- [Breaking news report 6:56 p.m. ET]

The Pennsylvania school stabbings suspect is 16-year-old Alex Hribal, according to court documents obtained by CNN Wednesday.

[Original story published at 5:45 p.m. ET]

Source: Teen accused in stabbing rampage in Pa. school charged as adult

A teenage boy wielding two kitchen knives went on a stabbing rampage at his high school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, early Wednesday, before being tackled by an assistant principal, authorities said.

Twenty students and a security officer at Franklin Regional Senior High School were injured in the attack, District Attorney John Peck told reporters.

As authorities work to piece together a possible motive, the accused attacker -- a 16-year-old sophomore -- has been arraigned by a Pennsylvanian magistrate, said Dan Stevens, deputy emergency management coordinator for Westmoreland County.

The teen has been charged as an adult, a source close to the investigation told CNN. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he has been charged with attempted homicide.

A doctor who treated six of the victims, primarily teens, said most initially did not know what happened.

"They just felt pain and noticed they were bleeding," Dr. Timothy VanFleet, chief of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told CNN.

"Almost all of them said they didn't see anyone coming at them. It apparently was a crowded hallway and they were going about their business, and then just felt pain and started bleeding."

'Don't know what I got going down'

The carnage began shortly before the start of classes, when an attacker began stabbing students in a crowded hallway and then went from classroom to classroom.

Student Matt DeCesare was outside the school when he heard a fire alarm ring and then saw two students come out of the school covered in blood.

Then he saw teachers running into the building and pulling "a couple of more students out," he told CNN. The students had been stabbed.

To stanch the bleeding, the teachers asked the students for their hoodies.

"We all took our hoodies off and handed them to the teachers to use as tourniquets to stop the bleeding," he said.

Recordings of emergency calls released in the wake of the attack provide a soundtrack of sorts to the terror and chaos that played out inside the school.

"I don't know what I got going down at school here but I need some units here ASAP," one officer can be heard saying.

Minutes later in another call, another official, breathlessly, can be heard detailing casualties: "About 14 patients right now."

Then another call for help. "Be advised inside the school we have multiple stab victims," one of the officers said. "So bring in EMS from wherever you can get them.

'Saw the kid who stabbing people'

Student Mia Meixner was standing at her locker.

"I heard a big commotion like behind my back," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And I turned around and I saw two kids on the ground."

She thought a fight had broken out, but then she saw blood.

"I saw the kid who was stabbing people get up and run away," she said.

Meixner said she saw three students help a bleeding freshman, saying they were taking him to a nurse. Then she saw a senior girl she knew.

"She was standing by the cafeteria doors. ... She was gushing blood down her arm."

Meixner dropped her books and went to help the girl.

"I started hearing a stampede of students coming down from the other end of the hall, saying 'Get out, we need to leave, go, there's a kid with a knife.' Then a teacher came over to me and the girl I was trying to help. And she said she would handle the girl and that I should run out. So then I just ran out of the school and tried to get out as soon as possible."

Blitzer asked whether the stabbing suspect said anything.

"No. He was very quiet. He just was kind of doing it," Meixner answered. "And 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."

She said she didn't know the boy, but he had been in a lot of her classes. "He kept to himself a lot," she said. "He didn't have that many friends that I know of, but I also don't know of him getting bullied that much. I actually never heard of him getting bullied. He just was kind of shy and didn't talk to many people."

Tackled by an assistant principal

Assistant Principal Sam King is being credited with bringing the carnage to an end.

King tackled the teen, Peck told reporters. A school resource officer was able to handcuff the suspect, Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said.

The accused teen, who authorities have declined to immediately identify, was being treated for injuries to his hands, the chief said.

Mark Drear, vice president of the security company for the school, said one of his officers was stabbed. The school had three security officers and a full-time police officer Wednesday morning, he said.

Stevens identified the police officer as William "Buzz" Yakshe, saying that he helped subdue the suspect. Yakshe is "doing fine," Stevens said. "He's more upset than anything else over what happened, because these are his kids."

A fire alarm that was pulled during the attack probably helped get more people out of the school during an evacuation order, Seefeld said. Students were running everywhere and there was "chaos and panic."

At one point, a female student applied pressure to the wounds of one of the male victims, possibly helping to save his life, said Dr. Mark Rubino, chief medical officer at Forbes Regional Hospital in nearby Monroeville, Pennsylvania, where seven teenagers and one adult were taken.

That male teen helped by a fellow student was one of three teens taken into surgery at Forbes.

The adult being treated there was not stabbed; he was suffering from an unspecified medical condition, according to hospital officials.

Some injuries life-threatening

The teens' injuries are "quite serious," and "some are clearly life-threatening," said Dr. Chris Kaufmann of Forbes Regional.

They were stabbed in their torso, abdomen, chest and back areas, and two people were sent to surgery immediately after arriving, he said. Those two patients had low blood pressure, he said.

The teens who are undergoing surgery suffered knife wounds, most to the lower abdomen, Rubino said.

Physicians are evaluating other patients to see if they need surgery as well, Kaufmann said.

Rubino said he expects all the teens to live, noting that the strength of their youth gives them a greater chance of survival. But "I do want to stress the critical nature of their injuries," he cautioned.

Eleven victims were taken to four University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals, UPMC spokesman Cindy McGrath said. One was sent to UPMC Presbyterian; four were taken to Children's Hospital; one was taken to UPMC Mercy; and five were taken to UPMC East. She did not have ages or conditions of the victims.

Six victims were released from UPMC hospitals, VanFleet said, and two were in intensive care.

The students who were hurt range in age from 14 to 17, Stevens said. All of the injuries are stabbing-related, such as lacerations or punctures, and there were no guns involved, he said.

'It doesn't happen here'

The attack in Murrysville is the latest in a string of school violence that has occurred across the nation. But mass stabbings, such as the one at the high school, are rare.

The attack has rattled the town, an upper-middle-class enclave with a population of about 20,000.

A message on the Franklin Regional School District's website said all of its elementary schools were closed after the incident, and "the middle school and high school students are secure."

Franklin Regional Senior High will be closed "over the next several days," district school Superintendent Gennaro Piraino said. The district's middle school and elementary schools will be open Thursday, and counseling will be available for the whole district, he said.

Information on what led to the stabbings and the conditions of the injured are still unfolding.

On Wednesday morning, students were being released to their parents, Stevens said. Shortly before 10 a.m. ET, CNN affiliate KDKA reported that some parents were beginning to be reunited with their children.

Bill Rehkopf, a KDKA radio host and Franklin Regional High School graduate, reported on air that he was shocked by the stabbings.

He said he kept thinking, "It doesn't happen here, it can't happen here."

He said he was seeing parents showing up at the school and an increasing media presence. Parents appear to be calm, he said.

Another KDKA reporter said she spoke with a parent who said she received a cell phone call from her daughter, who told her mother that "something bad" happened and that she needed to be picked up.

CNN first learned of the stabbings on Twitter.

Pamela Brown reported from Murrysville, and Chelsea J. Carter reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Ashley Fantz, Dana Ford, Jason Hanna, Steve Almasy, Ronnie Burke, Justin Lear, Allison Malloy, Stephanie Gallman, Leigh Remizowski, Debra Goldschmidt and Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire

nate_scimio/Instagram - student who reportedly pulled the fire alarm after being stabbed.

nate_scimio/Instagram - student who reportedly pulled the fire alarm after being stabbed.

27 comments

  • Frank Stallone

    I’m with you, friend. If the victims had knives of their own and were properly trained, none of this would have happened. Fight the power.

  • Charley James

    A knife injured 20 students. A gun killed 26 students and teachers.

    Based on the comments posted here before me, it seems that was once the lunatic fringe is no longer fringe.

      • Charley James

        If five members of the US Supreme Court understood 18th century punctuation and grammar, they never would have come to the ruling that they did on guns, and we wouldn’t have clowns walking around packing heat just to pump their testosterone levels up a bit so they can feel manly.

        And even if the Justices didn’t know how commas were used some 240 years ago, had they read any of the letters written by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to each other as the Constitution was drafted the court would have actually know what “the founders” meant by “a well-regulated militia being necessary for the common defense.”

  • toshia kuhns

    Id assume that this boy was bullies considering all the schools have a bully free school but when bulling takes place they do nothing about it…its not right what the boy did but they need to ask themselves could this have been prevented .

  • dan fatpat

    These stories always make me pause and think of all those that are effected by these events, no matter what the weapon. My son was bullied in school. I told him from day one there would be no fighting in school. I went to school and talked to the people in charge more than once. They did nothing. Finally I told my son ” You have the right to defend your self” He did so on the bus as soon as the other child got in his face again. He never had a problem again.. However the school district was trying to suspend him for the fight until I told them if they did I would be at every news org in our city telling them how the district had handled the situation they dropped the whole thing. I don’t like seeing these stories in the news but I know why and how they happen, and it starts at our schools.

  • dan fatpat

    I’d also like to know why this story is not headline news???? I’m not for one minute going to believe that if this were a gun related event it wouldn’t be at the very top of the page in the largest of type.

    • lsl guy

      Julie please think about your comment before you make it. A knife could kill 20 people easily. Men with box cutters took 3 jumbo jets.20

  • jj

    and STUPID people, stop calling Fox Film to complain about this stabbing. The Following television show is not at fault for crazed-ignorant-idiots and mentally unstable individuals who decide to kill. TV shows don’t kill people; knives don’t kill people; guns don’t kill people — enraged crazed ignorant people KILL PEOPLE.

    • Brett

      There may be a percentage of young minds that are particularly vulnerable to be influenced by shows like The Following. It takes time to for the brain to develop fully where an individual factors in the consequences of an action before taking it; and those are healthy brains! Who knows what mentally ill people are thinking. I expected something like this to happen after watching several episodes of this show.

  • LizR

    Phew, so no one was killed. Because, er, he didn’t use a gun.

    I guess the lesson here is too much rocket science for the average American.

  • tiredofourgovernment

    Who allowed Hilary Clinton to comment on here?You want to know what the difference is?
    Well let me tell you what it is. When a crazed individual goes on a shooting rampage you want to take the guns because it is the guns fault, a young man goes on a “stabbing rampage” and he has problems because he was bullied. See my train of thought here. I am thinking that you don’t. After last weeks Ft. Hood shooting the word “Gun Control” came out yet again. Not one thing about the person that did the crime until a day or two later. Everyone had banning the guns in America on their minds. Well let me tell you one thing, I am a legal law abiding gun owner and not once have any of my pistols, shotguns,deer rifles, or A/R-15 came out of the gun safe and gone on a shooting spree. Not once in the course of Playing Call of Duty on my Xbox have I thought about going out and murdering anyone. So now you tell me how you can tell me that guns kill people.
    People with guns or knives “Kill People” !
    An inatimate object is just that, it can’t do it on it’s own, it has to be operated by a capable individual.
    So before your so quick to judge the weapon take a look at the individual first before you blame the object used

  • Phyllis

    Whats up, that is fantastic write-up I truly treasured this essay writing.

    Thank you so much a lot! This kind of awesome blogging site!

Comments are closed.

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