Telephone threats to Franklin Regional students investigated



Two Franklin Regional Senior High School students received threatening phone messages and calls before the knife attack last week that left 21 students and a security guard injured, investigators said in court documents released Monday.

When the calls were placed was not clear, but the caller is thought to be 16-year-old stabbing suspect Alex Hribal "because of the subsequent conduct of [the suspect] coming to school and attacking numerous individuals," investigators wrote in an affidavit of probable cause filed with a search warrant application.

Alex's attorney, Patrick Thomassey, said he didn't have direct knowledge of the calls.

The father of one boy who received the threatening messages said last week that his son, who is two years older than Alex, had little contact with him and there was a good chance the call was unrelated to the stabbings.

The boy's father agreed to speak to a reporter on the condition that neither he nor his son be named.

The father of the other boy, a sophomore, said Monday that the family was "not providing any information" to reporters about the phone call or about whether his son knew Alex.

Mr. Thomassey said he didn't know of his client "having any conversations with anybody" the night before the stabbings, which occurred shortly after students arrived for school Wednesday.

Police had previously said they were looking into reports that the suspect had made a threatening call the night before the attacks.

The attorney also said he was not sure whether Alex had any sort of relationship with either boy named in the affidavit. He said Alex did not have a cell phone the night before the stabbings occurred, but he declined to say whether his client might have possessed one at other times.

Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld did not return messages seeking comment, and Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck declined an interview request through his secretary.

Seized from the Hribal home Wednesday afternoon, according to the search warrant application, were a wooden knife-holder missing two kitchen knives, computers, more than 30 video games, gaming systems, an iPod, an iPad and a piece of notebook paper with something about Alex Hribal written on it.

The inventory was filed late Friday in District Judge Charles Conway's office in Export. FBI agents, Murrysville police and Westmoreland County detectives conducted the search at the home on Sunflower Court in Murrysville.

County Detective Robert Weaver and Murrysville police Sgt. Charles Tappe also wrote in the affidavit that "it is known that individuals who commit school violence electronically preserve writings concerning their motive and/or plans to commit the violence."

Outside the school Monday, more than 100 teachers and staff members gathered after a breakfast meeting nearby, assistant superintendant Mary Catherine Reljac said.

Principal Ron Suvak and a teacher addressed the crowd, and the entire staff walked into the school together, Ms. Reljac said, "because we are unified in all this."

Today, students can bring their parents and walk through the school before classes resume Wednesday.

Ms. Reljac said the school will make counseling, therapy dogs and student ambassadors available.

Also Monday, Connor Warwick, 16, one of three stabbing victims who had been listed in critical condition at Forbes Hospital, was released from the intensive care unit. Two other boys, Greg Keener, 15, and Derek Jones, 17, remained in the ICU in critical but stable condition.

Jared Boger, 17, was in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian after a fourth surgery over the weekend, but his condition was improving, doctors said.


Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944. Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1438. Torsten Ove contributed. First Published April 14, 2014 12:54 PM


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