Attorney meets with stabbing suspect and his parents
April 10, 2014 11:45 PM
A Murrysville police officer waits outside the home of alleged Franklin Regional High School stabber Alex Hribal.
By Liz Navratil, Molly Born and Robert Zullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Westmoreland County teenager accused of going on a stabbing spree in Franklin Regional High School met Thursday with his parents for the first time since the attack, which still had investigators baffled.
Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said he met with Alex Hribal, 16, and his parents, Harold and Tina Hribal, at the Westmoreland County Juvenile Detention Center in Greensburg for about two hours Thursday afternoon.
"It took me this long to get the parents in to see him," Mr. Thomassey said. "It was very emotional. They hadn't seen their child since yesterday morning when they sent him off to school for a normal day, and now they see him at 3 o'clock this afternoon in the jail."
Mr. Thomassey said the visit yielded few updates that he could share with the public.
Both he and Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld agreed that, contrary to some reports, bullying did not appear to be a motive for the attack.
"Honestly, so often we read about that being the problem, that ends up being what led to an incident, but that has not surfaced," the chief said.
He said that police, who are being aided by the FBI, continue to investigate whether a threatening call made to a Franklin Regional student the night before the stabbings had any connection to them.
"We're still looking at that but nothing has really developed out of that," the chief said.
The father of the student who received the call spoke with a reporter on the condition that neither he nor his son be named. He said his son, a senior, spoke with authorities and there is a strong possibility that the call he received has nothing to do with the attack.
He said his son hardly knew Alex and there was no altercation between the two of them before the stabbings.
Mr. Thomassey said he had heard reports of the call, but as far as he knows it did not come from his client, who does not own a cell phone and uses the family phone.
"There isn't any motive," Mr. Thomassey said. "The kid's never been in trouble in his life."
Alex, who is charged as an adult, was arraigned Wednesday night on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and possessing a prohibited weapon on school property. He was stopped that morning by school officials who tackled him and held him down until police arrived.
Among those who helped in the chaotic scene was private security officer Ken Wedge. Mr. Wedge said Thursday that he was directing traffic Wednesday morning when he heard the fire alarm go off and saw students rushing outside.
He said one boy told him someone was stabbing students inside.
"I said to heck with everybody driving and I ran down there," Mr. Wedge said.
When he arrived, he saw private security Sgt. John Resetar lying stabbed past a set of cafeteria doors and assistant principal Sam King on top of the suspect.
Mr. Wedge said Alex was lying on his stomach with two 8-inch knives in his hands, which were tucked under him. The guard said he put Alex in a choke hold and yelled, "Do you want to die today?" He said Alex didn't respond.
Officer Wedge said he doesn't normally describe himself as a violent person, but he was worried for the safety of the students and teachers involved. He said Alex eventually let go of the knives, which he kicked away from the teenager, and Murrysville police Officer William "Buzz" Yakshe came and handcuffed him.
Left behind, Mr. Wedge said, was a bloody, mostly empty hallway. "It was just a holy mess," he said.
Liz Navratil: email@example.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @molly_born. Robert Zullo: email@example.com or 412-263-3909.