Alex Hribal, 16, has been identified as the suspect in the stabbings at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
He allegedly stabbed 20 people–19 students and a security guard–before being wrestled to the ground by another guard and an assistant principal.
Hribal’s name was mentioned by numerous students on social media before being confirmed by KDKA in the middle of the afternoon.
His name was also mentioned by first responders in Westmoreland County across the scanner.
Hribal’s Facebook page doesn’t have much information but it does include a series of random questions that he answered. The answers include the mention of Hitler.
The suspect came to the school, which is near Pittsburgh, early Wednesday and brandished two knives. He started stabbing people around 7 a.m.
Gracey Evans, a junior from Murrysville, said she arrived at the school around 6:50 a.m., and was standing in the sophomore hall about 20 minutes talking to her friend. Suddenly, she heard another student say something about blood, causing her to look around.
“I saw this kid in all black running down the hallway, stabbing. “He was just stabbing everybody that was in his way, Evans told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A police officer stands by the scene outside Franklin Regional High School where more then a dozen students were stabbed by a knife wielding suspect on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Murrysville, Pa., near Pittsburgh. The suspect, a male student, was taken into custody and is being questioned. (AP Photo/Tribune Review, Brian F. Henry)
(AP Photo/Tribune Review, Sean Stipp)
Her friend was stabbed in the back while another nearby student was stabbed in the stomach. Other witnesses said that the stabber at first tackled a freshman and stabbed him in the belly, then got up and ran wildly down the hall, slashing other students.
Nate Moore, 15, said he saw the first attack and was going to try to break it up when the boy got up and slashed his face, requiring 11 stitches.
“It was really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face. It spurted up on my forehead,” he said.
The attacker “had the same expression on his face that he has every day, which was the freakiest part,” Moore said. “He wasn’t saying anything. He didn’t have any anger on his face. It was just a blank expression.”
Alex Hribal. (Twitter)
Amid the chaos, another student pulled the fire alarm as the suspect ran off. He was eventually subdued by a security guard known as “Sarge,” assistant principal Sam King, and senior Ian Griffith.
Doctors said they expected all the victims to survive, despite large and deep puncture wounds to the abdomen in some cases. The wounded campus police officer was released.
Students who knew the stabber say that he may have been bullied, but some pointed out that that’s not an excuse for such violence.
“Yeah the kid may have been bullied. But you still have to be a piece of [expletive] to stab someone and try to take someone’s life,” said one student via Twitter.
Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld said the bloody crime scene at the school, some 15 miles east of Pittsburgh, was “vast” and may take a couple days to process.
Franklin Regional High School senior Ian Griffith, left, and fellow senior Connor Wolff speak to the media about the stabbing incident at the school Wednesday, April 9, 2014, outside the police station in Murrysville, Pa. Griffith said he saw the school police officer confront the student, who then stabbed the officer. (AP Photo/Tribune Review, Guy Wathen)
(AP Photo/Tribune Review, Sean Stipp)
Police haven’t officially named the suspect, who was taken into custody for questioning. He was driven from the police station in the back of a cruiser for treatment for a minor hand wound, and later returned to the station.
Investigators haven’t determined a motive, but Seefeld said they’re looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before. Seefeld didn’t specify whether the suspect reportedly received or made the call.
Authorities credited an assistant principal with subduing the assailant, though they did not describe the end of the attack in detail. Students identified the assistant principal as Sam King.
A student, Ian Griffith, said he saw the school police officer confront the student, who then stabbed the officer. King then tackled the boy, Griffith told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
King’s son said that his father was treated at a hospital, though authorities have said he was not wounded by the knife.
“He says he’s OK. He’s a tough cookie and sometimes hides things, but I believe he’s OK,” Zack King said. The boy added: “I’m proud of him.”
As for what set off the attack, Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said investigators were looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before. Seefeld didn’t specify whether the suspect received or made the call.
Mia Meixner, 16, said the initial assault touched off a “stampede of kids” yelling, “Run! Get out of here! Someone has a knife!”
Michael Float, 18, said he had just gotten to school when he saw “blood all over the floor” and smeared on the wall near the main entrance. Then he saw a wounded student.
“He had his shirt pulled up and he was screaming, ‘Help! Help!'” Float said. “He had a stab wound right at the top right of his stomach, blood pouring down.”
Float said he saw a teacher applying pressure to the wound of another student.
Someone, possibly a student, pulled a fire alarm after seeing some of the stabbings, the police chief said. Although that created chaos, Seefeld said, it emptied out the school more quickly, and “that was a good thing that that was done.”
Also, a girl with “an amazing amount of composure” applied pressure to a schoolmate’s wounds and probably kept the victim from bleeding to death, said Dr. Mark Rubino at Forbes Regional Medical Center.
Public safety and school officials said an emergency plan worked as well as could be expected. The district conducted an emergency exercise three months ago and a full-scale drill about a year ago.
“We haven’t lost a life and I think that’s what we have to keep in mind,” said county public safety spokesman Dan Stevens.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.