MURRYSVILLE (KDKA) — Students returned to Franklin Regional High School today for the first time since a day that changed many of their lives forever.
Last Wednesday, police say 16-year-old Alex Hribal entered the school armed with two kitchen knives. Twenty-four people were injured during the stabbing rampage.
Teachers returned to the school yesterday to get their classrooms ready.
Today, students had a chance to visit the school with their parents.
Students who were victims or witnesses to the stabbings were the first inside early this morning. There were designated time periods for each grade throughout the day.
“It was pretty difficult to go back in the building at first, knowing what happened on Wednesday,” said Zach Fleischauer.
That’s where the soft-spoken senior turned into so much more. He’s friends with Alex Pasculle, the junior paramedic who’s heralded as a life saver. It was Pasculle who said it was time to tell Fleischauer’s story.
Immediately after the mass stabbing, Fleischauer ran to Pasculle who asked him if he knew what to do.
“I said yes, I do, that’s when I snapped into action,” Fleischauer said.
Grabbing half of the medical supplies, Fleischauer started treating his severely wounded classmates.
One after another, he stopped the bleeding and treated others for shock — all throughout, reassuring those hurt that it would be OK. So how did he know how to react like this?
“The Army is who taught me,” he said.
Fleischauer is in the Army Reserve.
“I went to Fort Benning, Ga., basic combat training, that’s where I learned it,” he said.
But after a week, Fleischauer is coming to terms with what happened. Call him a hero, but he just sees what he did as a naturally reaction.
“I think I’m just a soldier doing what I was taught to do and doing my duty and serving,” he said.
Classes resume Wednesday.
Meanwhile, investigators continue to look for a motive in the attacks.
Hribal was a B+ student with no history of mental health or behavior problems.
Investigators are looking into whether specific students were targeted. They are also looking into threatening phone calls allegedly received by some of the victims the night before the stabbings.
A source told KDKA that investigators are also looking into reports that Hribal himself was targeted in a “disturbing hazing ritual” the week before the stabbings.
Hribal’s attorney denies that any phone calls were made, but acknowledged that bullying may have played a role.
Hribal remains at a juvenile detention center in Westmoreland County where he was taken after his arrest last Wednesday.
Three students remain hospitalized with injuries suffered in the stabbings. Two are at Forbes, the most seriously injured student remains at UPMC Presbyterian.
A “Back to School” rally is planned for 8 p.m. at Murrysville Community Park.
A student group is planning a prayer service for Wednesday morning before classes begin at the football stadium.