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Published: Tuesday, 4/15/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

2 Pa. teens got phone threats prior to stabbings

BY MOLLY BORN AND LIZ NAVRATIL
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. — Two Franklin Regional Senior High School students received threatening telephone messages and calls before the knife attack last week that left 21 students and a security guard injured, investigators said in court documents released Monday.

When the calls were placed was not clear, but the caller is thought to be 16-year-old stabbing suspect Alex Hribal “because of the subsequent conduct of [the suspect] coming to school and attacking numerous individuals,” investigators wrote in an affidavit of probable cause filed with a search warrant application.

The teen’s attorney, Patrick Thomassey, said he had no direct knowledge of the calls.

The father of one boy who received the messages said last week his son, who is two years older than young Hribal, had little contact with him, and there was a good chance the call was unrelated to the stabbings.

The boy’s father agreed to speak to a reporter on the condition that neither he nor his son be named.

The father of the other boy, a sophomore, said Monday the family was “not providing any information” to reporters about the call or whether his son knew the suspect.

Mr. Thomassey said he didn’t know of his client “having any conversations with anybody” the night before the stabbings, which occurred shortly after students arrived for school Wednesday.

Police had said they were looking into reports that the suspect had made a threatening call the night before the attacks.

The attorney also said he was not sure whether young Hribal had any sort of relationship with either boy named in the affidavit. He said young Hribal did not have a cell phone the night before the stabbings occurred, but he declined to say whether his client might have possessed one at other times.

Seized from the Hribal home Wednesday afternoon, according to the search warrant application, were a wooden knife-holder missing two kitchen knives, computers, more than 30 video games, gaming systems, an iPod, an iPad, and a piece of notebook paper with something about Alex Hribal written on it.

The inventory was filed late Friday in District Judge Charles Conway’s office in Export, Pa. FBI agents, Murrysville police, and Westmoreland County detectives conducted the search at the home in Murrysville.

Meanwhile, outside the school, Principal Ron Suvak and a teacher addressed more than 100 teachers and staff members at a breakfast meeting nearby, said Mary Catherine Reljac, assistant superintendent.

The staff walked into the school together, Ms. Reljac said, “because we are unified in all this.”

Also Monday, Connor Warwick, 16, one of three stabbing victims who had been listed in critical condition at Forbes Hospital, was released from the intensive care unit. Two other boys, Greg Keener, 15, and Derek Jones, 17, remained in the ICU in critical but stable condition.

Jared Boger, 17, was listed in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian after a fourth surgery over the weekend, but his condition was improving, doctors said.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Molly Born and Liz Navratil are reporters for the Post-Gazette.



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