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Authorities still unsure of target in Pennsylvania high school stabbing

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - No evidence has surfaced yet to show that a boy charged in a stabbing rampage at his high school was targeting any particular student, and efforts to establish a motive are stalled because the suspect isn't talking and many victims remain hospitalized, a police chief said Friday.

"At this point I don't have anybody that, you know, was targeted," Chief Thomas Seefeld said. "I know the issue of bullying has been brought up but his attorney has even said ... that bullying is not part of this and we have no evidence or reason to believe that it is."

Alex Hribal, 16, is accused of stabbing or slashing 21 students and a guard on Wednesday at the 1,200-student Franklin Regional High School east of Pittsburgh. Charges against him include four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault.

Five students remained hospitalized Friday, with four - one 15-year-old, two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old - in critical condition, hospital officials said. Three others were released.

Hribal used two kitchen knives he brought from home, his lawyer has said, in an apparent random attack on other students that began just minutes before the start of classes in a crowded hallway, setting off a stampede.

Police said Hribal flailed away with the knives down a long stretch of a hallway, leaving blood on the walls and floor.

Two of the most seriously wounded students were found in a classroom, but it was not known whether they had just sought refuge there or were attacked there, the chief said.

Police cannot get information from Hribal because his attorney, who is seeking a psychiatric evaluation of the boy, "has lawyered him up," Seefeld said.

"It's a little hard to get his side of things right now," he said.

The rampage, which police said lasted only minutes, was stopped when Hribal was tackled by an assistant principal.

After being taken into custody, he made statements suggesting he wanted to die, a prosecutor has said.

The chief said Friday that the boy said "he wanted someone to kill him."

The chief and District Attorney John Peck said they are limited in what information they can release because they still have a crime to prosecute, unlike some other school attacks that ended with student gunmen killing themselves.

Still, the chief said, what triggered the attack remains unknown.

"I don't know of anything right now, you know, that would reveal any motive. That's the big question out there," Seefeld said.

Hribal's attorney did not immediately return a call for comment Friday. But he has said the boy's family remains as puzzled as police by the attack.

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bhappyhappyhappy April 12 2014 at 3:58 AM

nice editing of the headline ... "Why suspects and victims aren't talking" no other story I have seen says anything about "suspects" way to go AOL

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up.yours April 12 2014 at 4:05 PM

Just another fun day in high school. Although no one deserves this, if bullying was involved, KARMA would dictate that the bully or bullies were on the receiving end...

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steve April 12 2014 at 2:14 AM

These mass killings and in this case mass injuries are frightening not only because of the mayhem inflicted, but mayhem for no particular reason. Even a beast of prey has a reason, to eat. These alleged human beings by their heinous crimes, lower themselves beneath the animals because they kill or maim randomly and for no reason.

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nkowalak April 12 2014 at 1:49 PM

When young people at schools have trouble, they don't often tell their peers they are going to hurt someone. The "news' of these incidents may be lessons for "copycats." Normal over-indulgent teens do not plan these events without "a friend" or they stock pile the previous events on their computers and as in the past, have access to dangerous weapons. You may be correct that there are staff in schools to work with these kids, but if "you" were disturbed, just how fast would you tell family or school personnel you needed help? I believe that if a young person told his counselor or teacher he was depressed, word would leak out that the kid was crazy and then made fun of by others. Now days, if a young person went to a family member, hopefully they would respond by finding him the correct help. Which brings us to the topic of available mental health and that is where we have failed society--those services have been cut back for years because of budget cut. Our families are so busy trying to keep up with the daily bills, that many don't know where to go to get help so they go to the medical field and we now have more kids on meds than ever before. We are doing this to ourselves, our families, our friends and the schools are so busy trying to teach, they don't have time to help hidden disturbed kids.

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cornell0673 April 12 2014 at 2:48 AM

what does a kid have to do to be labelled a bad kid around here?

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1 reply
kmcc895370 cornell0673 April 12 2014 at 8:15 AM

getting stabbed by someone he's tormenting, that's what.

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Bull April 12 2014 at 2:38 PM

Unless self defense is involved, psychosis is clearly responsible for this behavior. I don't pretend to have answers but I am curious about a couple of things. How often did this kind behavior take place before society had access to instant media coverage available today and when it occured, how did we treat the offender.

My questions are based upon the incidence, today, of what's reffered to as "PTSD" in returning veterans. World War II surely had veterans with the same problems, but they were either not recognized or went untreated.

Which leads to the question; "how many of these incidents are either caused or increased due to media coverage or the lack of same?"

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4 replies
Sadie April 12 2014 at 2:58 PM

We have been watching "Bates Motel". Its actually pretty good at showing mental illness and how it is noticed and handled. Norman and his mom are ordinary people, until something traumatic happens.

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Louis April 12 2014 at 5:29 AM

When will the schools learn and install metal detectors at all the entrances?

This is a classic case of being pennywise and pound foolish. If this kid had brought a gun to school there would have been a lot more fatalities.

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fine7760 April 12 2014 at 7:40 AM

Something is very strange about how they are treating this kid. Every photo shows him in a hospital gown. If they don't want him to wear his own cloths I'm sure there are jump suits at the juvenile facility where he is being held.

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1 reply
weeziebathome fine7760 April 12 2014 at 9:47 AM

I smell an attorney building a case of mental illness. What a better way of showing illness than a hospital gown? The public is being played right before our eyes. The victims of the stabbings are the ones who are in the gowns because of what this person did. We seem to be forgetting about them.

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thetargetboy0130 April 12 2014 at 7:31 AM

parents today need to get their heads out of their butts and wake up and have family time and sit down with their kids and talk. parents need to be parents and grow up. i know one mom is trying to relive her teenage years with her kid. she dress like her teen kid. what do that tell you.

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1 reply
sf1045 thetargetboy0130 April 12 2014 at 8:17 AM

I agree with U 100%. Family values, sitting at the dinner table and talking about the children's day and what is bothering them. Not saying it is the fix, but it is a start. Stay in touch with your children.

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