Pennsylvania school stabbing victim's thought: "Will I die?"

Brett Hurt, a sophomore at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa., is wheeled into a news conference by a nurse at Forbes Hospital Thursday, April 10, 2014 in Monroeville, Pa. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

MONROEVILLE, Pa. -- One of the victims of a knife attack at a high school near Pittsburgh says he was terrified he might die when he realized he had been stabbed in the back.

Sixteen-year-old Brett Hurt appeared at a hospital news conference Thursday, a day after authorities say fellow student Alex Hribal either stabbed or slashed 21 students and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

"What was going through my mind?" Hurt said. "Will I survive or will I die?"

Hurt says he doesn't think he could return to school anytime soon. He says, "I might freeze."

Hurt says the whole attack was a blur.

He says he met the suspect a couple of times but didn't really know him. CBS station KDKA reported that Hurt also theorized as to why his classmate would have going on such a stabbing rampage.

"I've been thinking, maybe if he had more friends or somebody to help him out or, like, to show him a different path, it would have been different," he said.

The district attorney said Hribal, who is being held on charges including four counts of attempted homicide, used two "ordinary kitchen knives."

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck called the weapons "common items you'd find in a kitchen." However, he stopped short of saying that Hribal took them from his own home.

At least five students were critically wounded in the attack Wednesday, including a boy whose liver was pierced by a knife thrust that narrowly missed his heart and aorta, doctors said. Others also suffered deep abdominal puncture wounds.

The rampage - which came after decades in which U.S. schools geared much of their emergency planning toward mass shootings, not stabbings - set off a screaming stampede, left blood on the floor and walls, and brought teachers rushing to help the victims.

Hribal was taken into custody and treated for a minor hand wound, then was brought into court in shackles and a hospital gown and 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.

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.

Dan Stevens, deputy emergency management coordinator for Westmoreland County Public Safety, told CBS News' Vinita Nair, "He attacked his classmates; he attacked his friends. We're going to have interview other friends and neighbors and relatives to find out exactly what went on."

The FBI joined the investigation and went to the boy's house, where authorities said they planned to confiscate and search his computer.

At the brief hearing, Peck said that after he was seized, Hribal made comments suggesting he wanted to die.

Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey described Hribal as a good student who got along with others, and asked for a psychiatric examination.

Thomassey told ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday that any defense he offers would likely be based on Hribal's mental health. He said he hoped to move the charges against the teenager to juvenile court, where he could be rehabilitated. If convicted as an adult, Hribal faces likely decades in prison.

Thomassey said Hribal is remorseful, though he acknowledged his client didn't appear to appreciate the gravity of his actions.

"At this point, he's confused, scared and depressed. Over the next few days we'll try to figure out what the heck happened here," Thomassey said. "I think he understands what he did. ... I don't think he realizes how severely injured some of these people are."

The attack unfolded in the morning just minutes before the start of classes at 1,200-student Franklin Regional High School, in an upper-middle-class area 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh.

It was over in about five minutes, during which the boy ran wildly down about 200 feet (60 meters) of hallway, slashing away with knives about 10 inches (254 millimeters) long, police said.

Assistant Principal Sam King finally tackled the boy and disarmed him, and a police officer who is regularly assigned to the school handcuffed him, police said.

King's son told The Associated Press that his father was treated at a hospital, though authorities said he was not knifed.

In addition to the 22 stabbed or slashed, two people suffered other injuries, authorities said. The security guard, who was wounded after intervening early in the melee, was not seriously hurt.

"There are a number of heroes in this day. Many of them are students," Gov. Tom Corbett said during a visit to the stricken town. "Students who stayed with their friends and didn't leave their friends."

While several bloody stabbing rampages at schools in China have made headlines in the past few years, schools in the U.S. have concentrated their emergency preparations on shooting rampages.

Nevertheless, there have been at least two major stabbing attacks at U.S. schools over the past year, one at a community college in Texas last April that wounded at least 14 people, and another, also in Texas, that killed a 17-year-old student and injured three others at a high school in September.



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