“It doesn’t happen here.” Stabbings in Pittsburgh Suburban School

PA stabbing 3Bill 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.”

Sadly, it did happen.

Imagine being 16 years old, and coming to court in a hospital gown and shackles. That is what happened to Alex Hribal who stabbed or slashed 19 students and a police officer at a suburban Pittsburgh high school. Alex also injured his own hands. Alex, a sophomore, brought two knives to Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. The knives have been described as 8 to 10 inches long.

A doctor who treated six of the victims said most of them didn’t immediately 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’s Ashleigh Banfield.

“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.”

At least five students were critically wounded, including a boy whose liver PA stabbing1was pierced by a knife thrust that narrowly missed his heart and aorta. Some victims suffered deep abdominal puncture wounds.

As of Friday, 8 students remained hospitalized. Four are in critical condition.

Student Mia Meixner was standing at her locker. She said that 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.”

Wolf Blitzer of CNN asked Mia if Alex 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.”

Mia described Alex as shy and someone who didn’t talk to many people.

15-year old Nate Moore saw Alex tackle and knife a freshman. He was going to try and break it up when Alex slashed Nate in the face, opening a wound that required 11 stitches.   After 5 minutes of stabbing and slashing, Alex was tackled by Assistant Principal Sam King who disarmed him, and a school resource officer handcuffed him.

PA stabbing 2Nate described Alex as having the same expression on his face that he has everyday – not anger – just a blank expression.

Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said investigators are looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before. Chief Seefeld didn’t say whether the suspect received or made the call. The FBI went to Alex’s house to confiscate and search his computer. Alex is not cooperating with authorities so they do not know what motivated the attacks.

Alex’s attorney, Patrick Thomassey said, “I think a lot of things have happened. I don’t want to comment specifically, but I think there are some things that occurred that led to where we are today.”

An FBI official familiar with the investigation discounted bullying as a motive and said that Alex was “disaffected but not bullied.” The official spoke under the condition of anonymity.

Philadelphia CBS local news reports that Alex has been charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. He was jailed without bail, and authorities said he would be prosecuted as an adult. At the brief hearing, District Attorney John Peck said that after he was seized, Alex made comments suggesting he wanted to die.

The Hribal neighbors of 13 years say that the family is great and that they never saw anything out of the ordinary. Sonya Kukalis, said: “It should be an eye-opener for everybody. Everyone always thinks it’s the other neighborhood, the other town. We need to be kinder and show compassion to more people. Something must have been going on for him to do this.”

A video of Alex being placed in a police car is available on NBC Philadelphia.

violence-is-the-problem-not-the-solution.pngIn 1999, I attended the last graduating class for the century at my former high school.  I had not been inside the small building since 1968.  There was a metal detector at the main entrance which reminded me that times have changed.

This bothers me because there are school, domestic violence, and other programs that teach that violence is never the answer to resolve problems.  Teens are just beginning their lives. Have we not learned from Columbine, Sandyhook and other schools that our children need to be secure and safe in school?  What wounds are being made upon their young minds?

Posted on 04/12/2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. My husband and I sat in class with one of our children who was enrolling in a new school approx. 10 years ago. We both noticed that the students sat there with blank looks on their faces and not at all interested in what the teacher was saying. They weren’t disruptive, but not a one was participating in any discussion, and I would bet not one of them could tell you what was discussed during that class. We have often asked ourselves what is wrong with this generation of youth. They seem to have no motivation or concern for what the future holds. Is there something in the water?

    This concerns us very much, as we have had this discussion with others who have commented about the “Blank Look.”

    • dreamer,
      It really makes me wonder. Is there so much required of teens now with technology that they’ve lost or never really developed verbal communication skills? Is having to know text and internet acronyms and terms interfering with their ability to switch back into regular mode when doing homework? Are they not trusting of adults and of true friendship with their peers because of knowing others who have their trust betrayed? I know — a million questions seeking answers. (sigh)

      • towerflower

        I wonder how many of those kids with the blank look are medicated?

        • Good question. They reminded me of how fogen looked during most of the trial.

        • Good question, towerflower. Parents should pay more attention to the warning labels. When I hear them in advertisements they make me cringe.

      • Xena, A question for you… Could a large part of the problem be that the young people of today have no adult figures for role models? It seems that parents and others that are m ost in contact with todays young people are attempting to be friends and peers, rather than figures of authority and worthy of respect? If you fail to teach respect and manners to a child, can you really expect that child to follow the right path in adult life?!
        When I was growing up my parents were just that, they were not my friends, they were not my equals, they were the supreme law of the home period, no and’s, if’s or but’s, their word was final and I knew not to question there word (out loud at least).. In school my job was to learn, and the teachers job was to teach, however today it seems that the child is sent to school merely to give the parents time off from their job as parents… and then we wonder why we have a problem with behavior….

        • crazy1946,
          Good questions, and I can take positions on both sides of the fence when it comes to parents as role models. This is what I mean. When the government got involved in how children should be disciplined, they took “parenting” out of being parents. No — I’m not talking about cases of child abuse, but children protective services seem to get involved in any report. Parents should not have live with fear that their child(ren) will be taken away and put in foster homes just because they slapped a child on the hand.

          IMHO, children are served a benefit with extended family relationships; grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins.

          As we have seen with Trayvon Martin haters, they fail to understand the extended family and think it indicates parent/child problems rather than a loving family support system.

          Also IMHO, I think that American culture and lifestyles have changed drastically since the 60’s. Suburban kids seldom walk anywhere further than the school bus stop and have to be driven everywhere. That also means that even when children want to be involved in activities structured for them, they have to depend on their parents’ schedule.

          Local shop owners used to be role models, but everything now is a super store. Local churches were the center of families and friendships, but now there are mega churches and cliques in the churches so many people still feel very much alone although sitting with hundreds of others.

          Many children go through their teens not feeling that they belong to anything.

        • Figures of authority used to demand respect. The lines were clearly drawn, if you crossed them you got immediate consequences. There are no such CLEAR lines any more. Most mothers are not home anymore either, and do not have the time that women did in my day to be mothers. Most have to work full time as well as dad just to eat. There are so many contributing factors potentially to any child’s behavior.

          We have allowed Drug companies, through intimidation, (with the help of school districts) drug our children for decades. They knew when this began that their drugs caused these side affects. Affects such as suicidal, homicidal ideations. Hearing voices, thinking everyone is out to get you, etc…etc…

          The companies knew (for decades) that this these drugs could basically make people schizophrenic, and created a system which , through law, forced them upon our children. What types of drugs were in this boys system? Where is the tox report?
          Right now these are the only questions I never see answered or even given mention. They are possibly the only questions we should be DEMANDING answers for.

          • PapaBear,
            Welcome to Blackbutterfly7.

            Your comment makes a very good point.

            Back in 1999 just after Columbine, a friend told me then that the killers must have been on anti-depressants. She gave a warning on Compuserve forums about it. Some years thereafter, I realized that the anti-depressants are suppose to help patients think so they can resolve problems causing their depression. If their problems are caused by others, then of course, (particularly with teens), they would resolve that by killing those who cause their problems.

            I’ve always wondered why, when I was a kid, there were no kids with ADHD.

            Thanks so much for your comment.

    • Ten years ago blank looks were probably due to boredom.not tech or add meds.:)

      • I suspect that I had a blank look when I was trying to stay awake after being up too late. Oh – but that was in church. LOL! I used to stay up late on Saturdays watching Shock Theater.

    • I looked at video…schizophrenia begins manifesting around 15 and his “flat affect” is not a blank expression but is one of the characteristics displayed in this mental.illness. most mentally ill.people are.not.dangerous.

      I doubt he is competent to.stand trial.

    • Xena, I guess in his eyes it took a “real hero” to attack and murder people In an assisted living home… There are too many human empty shells walking the streets today to simply ignore that we as a nation have a serious problem. Unfortunately too many of they also hold seats in elected positions, especially congress… Perhaps the zombie movies are not fictional after all?

      • ” too many of they also hold seats in elected positions” Should read, too many of them also hold seats in elected positions…..

        Wow, old fingers, old brain, and poor eyesight strikes again… sorry!

        • crazy1946,
          It’s okay. I read typos. 🙂

          Do you remember the move Night of the Living Dead? I’m into symbolism and if there is a lesson in movies. In that movie I realized that the living dead were not the zombies, but those still living who were killing each other.

          Mankind does seem to be taking on the roles of zombies — insatiable appetites to kill.

  2. I have to wonder about the parents and the effect of Hollywood these young kids are just that kids. How many I wonder are living in violent homes, how many have no parental guidance since both parents are working usually alternating shifts with the gaps of no parent in between. There are many factors I am sure yet the sad part is no one is teaching them an alternate way to the violence, saying it is not the way is a start, showing them another way is the solution. When for the most part the examples they see are violent what do they learn? I am not saying it is bad parents, bad schools, bad movies, it is just sad to me that we are not setting better examples and offering more options to solve the issues of violence in the lives of these young people. I am appalled by the comments like this generation is so messed up or has no clue or any negative expressed sentiment… I would ask who is responsible? Who is teaching them? If they are teaching themselves well what do we expect they are kids. We as a society are responsible! What are we teaching these kids? Obviously not to love and help each other, there will always be one in any group that is calling out for help in some way. The observation that a whole generation or generations is having problems well that screams we all need help we are raising and teaching them and apparently not doing a very good job of it. Just my thoughts and observations. I pray for all those injured and all those that are in need of some help and some love. 🙂

    • Joe,

      I am not saying it is bad parents, bad schools, bad movies, it is just sad to me that we are not setting better examples and offering more options to solve the issues of violence in the lives of these young people.


  3. It wasn’t a kid who killed.those Jewish people…it was a former grand wizard of KKk who had served prison.time. I hope they investigate how and where he obtained his gun cause I’m pretty sure that even Kansas has laws against felons owning guns. The killer is arrested but how does a person with felonies buy a gun. Arrest and charge whoever sold him a gun or is that infringing on someone’s 2nd amendment rights? Talking to you NRA.

    • How does a person with felonies buy Gun? The same way people buy drugs. They either give someone money to get them one, or they walk down the street usually in the not so good part of town, and chances are you will find someone selling one, or knows where you can get one. Just like birth certificates, social security cards, fake id’s, you got they money, and someone is selling.

  4. I am praying for the victims and their loved ones. May they all have successful recoveries and lead safe lives with bright futures.

    “4th surgery goes well for Pennsylvania high school stabbing victim”


  5. Many items seized from Franklin Regional High School stabbing suspect’s home in Murrysville”


%d bloggers like this: