A 16-year-old Pennsylvania boy was charged Wednesday evening with two dozen felony counts after 20 students and a security guard were stabbed or slashed at a suburban Pittsburgh high school.
The boy, identified as Alex Hribal, a sophomore at Franklin Senior Regional High School in Murrysville, was held without bail on four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of carrying a prohibited weapon.
At least four people remained in intensive care with life-threatening injuries after the rampage Wednesday morning at Franklin Senior Regional High School in the town of Murrysville.
Hribal was remanded to juvenile detention pending a preliminary hearing April 30 in Westmoreland County Magisterial Court.
Prosecutors told Judge Charles R. Conway that Hribal "randomly and indiscriminately" wielded his knives in a hallway at the school and indicated that "he wanted to die."
They said it was unclear whether he was competent to stand trial.
Attorneys for Hribal — who sat head-down in court in a hospital gown, bearing numerous bandages and stitches with his hands and feet shackled — asked for a psychiatric evaluation.
Hribal was well-known to many at Franklin High, who called him a good student — certainly not someone you would expect to go off violently.
"I don't know what could possibly motivate him to do it," Shane Molyneaux told NBC News in an email interview.
"He was somewhat friendly. He was very smart," Molyneaux said. "He was not bullied and he did not seem like a mean kid. He did have friends."
But for some reason, he left the home he's lived in since he was 2 years old Wednesday morning — on the same Murrysville street as the home of the assistant principal whom authorities credited with subduing him — and arrived at school with two 8-inch-long long straight knives, according to the criminal complaint.
VINCENT PUGLIESE / EPA
Parents and children are reunited at an organized pickup for parents at an elementary school following a stabbing spree Wednesday at Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville, Pa.
He was able to get the knives into the school because it doesn't have metal detectors — Murrysville is a peaceful Pittsburgh suburb of about 21,000.
Once he was there, he began stabbing and slashing at random, wounding 20 classmates and John Resetar, a uniformed security guard, according to the complaint.
There were no obvious clues that Hribal was troubled — no inflammatory social media postings or reports to authorities.
He apparently had no cellphone, the FBI said. But he did have a computer, which the FBI seized.
And he may have left clues or other evidence elsewhere. At least 10 FBI agents and a forensics truck flocked to the family's home, and Scott Smith of the FBI said investigators were out in the field executing multiple search warrants late Wednesday afternoon.
At the Murrysville home, Hribal's father said he had no comment beyond sending out prayers to everyone concerned.
Jane Derenowski and Steve Wende of NBC News contributed to this report.
First published April 9 2014, 4:00 PM