Brett Hurt’s thoughts were more than any school-aged teen should have to contemplate in the early morning hours after arriving at high school. “Will I survive or die?” wondered the sophomore who was injured in Wednesday's brutal knife attack in a Pa. school.
According to NewsMax on April 10, the suspect in the stabbing has now been identified as 16-year-old Alex Hribal, a fellow sophomore who slashed 21 students and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School in the suburb of Murrysville, near Pittsburgh, on April 9.
Murrysville police chief Thomas Seefeld said shortly after the incident that the suspect, now known as Hribal, was “flashing two knives around,” as he made his way down a first-floor hallway and into classrooms, slashing students in the chest, back and abdomen.
Hurt spoke from a wheelchair to reporters at the Forbes Regional Hospital. “It happened so fast, it’s kind of hard to describe,” Hurt said at the news conference, as reported by USA Today. “There were so many kids in the hallways and when someone said they saw blood or something, everyone just started screaming. When I got hit, everyone noticed and just started running in different directions. Gracey was screaming and started asking if I was all right.”
Hurt shielded his friend Gracey Evans from the attacker, and took a knife slash deep into his back. For his actions, he is being hailed as a hero, and rightly so. She in turn is credited with saving his life by applying constant pressure on the wound.
Hribal’s attorney, Patrick Thomassey, told CNN that his client is not the typical “loner” that one might expect this sort of behavioral breakdown from, and that Hribal will undergo an analysis of his mental health. “I’m not sure he knows what he did, quite frankly,” Thomassey said.
Hurt’s words showed a side of compassion, as he wondered about Hribal’s friends and if they could have prevented this.
“Maybe if he had more friends or somebody to help him out or to show him a different path, maybe it would have been different,” the teen said.
Amanda Hurt, Brett’s mom, said Hribal’s entire social network of family, friends and school administrators need to step back and analyze the actions that may have led to his vicious actions.
“Any child that is honestly able to do something like that, I feel that it is not only his peers, his family, but it is the school who needs to look and say what have we done to alienate this child for him to do such a gruesome thing,” Amanda Hurt said at the news conference.
Police have not revealed Hribal's motive, though they did say that while in custody the 16-year-old told them that he just "wants to die." Authorities have charged Alex Hribal with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault.