A student stabbed in the back during the rampage at a high school outside Pittsburgh said that he wondered: “Will I survive or will I die?”
The student, Brett Hurt, was the first victim to speak publicly since the attack. He said that he has a bruised lung in addition to the back injury and expects to go home soon.
“I didn’t really know what was going on at the time,” he said. "I was walking down the hall with a friend of mine, Gracie Evans. And then it just all, like, hit. She was screaming, I was just standing there — like I didn’t know what was going on.”
Evans applied pressure to Hurt’s back to try to stop the bleeding, he said. Hurt said: “She saved my life.”
Twenty-one students and an adult security guard were injured in the attack on Wednesday. Alex Hribal, 16, has been charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault. His lawyer said Thursday that he would seek a psychiatric evaluation for the teenager.
Hurt described an ordinary morning in the halls of Franklin Regional High School. He was goofing off with Evans when he was struck in the back. Then, he said, “everything just went into straight chaos.”
Hurt’s mother, Amanda Leonard, choked up as she described her reaction.
“Every parent can be blessed to know that their child is still here,” she said. “When my daughter called me at work yesterday, freaking out, and said my son was on a list of victims, I dropped. I don’t think any parent in the world would ever want to go through that kind of agony.”
She also expressed compassion for the teen charged in the attack, and for his family.
She said: “I think in this time, in this age that we live in, in all honesty, there’s more bullying than anybody wants to say. I honestly feel that some students, they have a tendency of some shyness more than other students do.”
Police have said that they will look into whether Hribal was bullied.
Hurt said that he planned to go to prom, which is May 9, and that he plans to dance. He spoke at a press conference at Forbes Regional Hospital, where doctors said that two victims were still on ventilators Thursday.
Asked about the suspect, Hurt said that he has been thinking: “Maybe if he had more friends or somebody to help him out, to show him a different path, maybe it would have been different.”
“I just hope that one day everyone — I can forgive him and everyone else who got hurt can forgive him. Most of all he needs to forgive himself.”
— Erin McClam
First published April 10 2014, 7:42 AM