Police: Franklin Regional suspect said he had more to kill
A frightening, handwritten note found in the locker of Alex Hribal was dated April 6, three days before he allegedly slashed and stabbed 21 people in a hallway at Franklin Regional High School.
Hribal, a 16-year-old sophomore, wrote, “I can’t wait to see the priceless and helpless looks on the faces of the students of one of the ‘best schools in Pennsylvania’ realize their precious lives are going to be taken by the only one among them that isn’t a plebeian ,” according to a police affidavit.
Investigators on Friday filed 17 more counts of attempted homicide against Hribal, of Murrysville. He was charged as an adult hours after the attacks.
Based in part on the note, Murrysville Sgt. Charles Tappe and Westmoreland County Detective Robert Weaver filed a new complaint on Friday with 21 attempted homicide charges.
Hribal is accused of attacking classmates at random, an 8-inch, stainless-steel kitchen knife in each hand, before classes started April 9, police said. He wounded 20 students and a security guard before he was tackled by Assistant Principal Sam King.
King ordered Hribal to surrender the knives, but he refused, police said in the complaint. “No, I am not dropping them,” he said. “My work is not done. I have more people to kill.”
Victim Jared Boger, 17, told the Tribune-Review on Wednesday that he didn’t know Hribal.
He and Derek Jones, 17, were released on Wednesday from two-week stays at Forbes Hospital. Two students remain patients there. Greg Keener, 15, is in critical but stable condition, and Connor Warwick, 16, is in fair condition.
District Judge Charles Conway arraigned Hribal on the new charges by video from the Regional Youth Services Center, where he is being held without bond. He also has been charged with 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a weapon on school property.
Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said the new charges were unnecessary.
“Quite frankly, I don’t know why they were filed,” he said. “It seems to me it’s somewhat piling on.”
Thomassey and Hribal’s parents spent 70 minutes at the center on Friday morning, a sign-in sheet at the facility showed.
Thomassey declined to discuss specifics of the note found in the locker but said Hribal’s actions stemmed from bullying, a notion he initially rejected in the hours immediately after the stabbings.
“I don’t know how it changes things,” Thomassey said of the note. “It depends on how you read it. It is written by a kid who was very unhappy by what was happening in school. I think there are a lot things going on in that school that pushed him over the edge.”
Murrysville police Chief Tom Seefeld said no evidence of bullying has surfaced.
More details about the attack have come to light during the investigation, Seefeld said.
“(Hribal was) apparently very angry. I couldn’t sit here and tell you why,” he said. “It’s disturbing.”
Ray Grabowski, director of behavioral health services at Excela Health, said “there are often indicators that go unnoticed, and it’s not until there is some sort of incident that those indicators then make sense.”
District Attorney John Peck said police and prosecutors upgraded the charges because “after more review of the evidence, we found the handwritten note and the statement to the assistant principal.”
Assistant Principal Sam King told police he heard that “someone was getting cut” and ran toward the area that panicked students were fleeing, according to the affidavit.
King found school security guard Sgt. John Resetar with a stab wound in the stomach. Hribal stood with a knife in each hand, according to the affidavit. When Hribal turned, King tackled him from behind, police said.
Thomassey has said he will ask that the charges be moved to juvenile court. But Peck said state law mandates that Hribal be charged as an adult because of the nature of the crimes.
“The charges we filed are excluded from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court,” he said.
Thomassey prepared documents to formally waive Hribal’s right to a preliminary hearing, which is set for Wednesday. But after the new charges were filed, he requested a postponement.
Thomassey said he expects the request to be granted on Monday.