Alex Hribal, the 16-year-old student who police say stabbed 22 people at his Pennsylvania high school Wednesday, is “confused, scared and depressed,” his attorney told ABC News in an exclusive interview.
“I think he understands what he did,” attorney Patrick Thomassey said in an interview with “Good Morning America.”
“I don’t think he at this point understands the gravity of what he did. I don’t think he realizes how severely injured some of these people are. And, hopefully, there’s no death involved in any of these. We’re praying that everybody is all right.”
Thomassey said he’s unaware of any signs of Hribal’s being bullied, adding that the teen’s parents are shocked and horrified.
“They could not have predicted that this was going to happen,” he said. “They don’t understand how this occurred.”
The stabbing spree happened at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, a suburb located about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh. Morgan Ritchey, who said she had two classes with Hribal, described him as being “a little misunderstood.”
“I just always felt like he had a different side to him that nobody knew and it was, like, hard to uncover,” said Ritchey.
Hribal, a sophomore, used two 8-to-10 inch "kitchen-type" "straight" knives in the attack, which started shortly after 7 a.m., police said.
Murrysville Police Officer William “Buzz” Yakshe, a school resource officer, heard a disturbance in the hallway and joined a school security guard to go find out what was happening, according to a police affidavit.
The guard and officer split up. The next time Yakshe saw the guard, he was leaning against a wall, bleeding from his stomach.
Sam King, the school’s assistant principal, told police he saw Hribal stab the security guard. King tackled the teen and subdued him while Yakshe handcuffed him.
King heard one of the victims say, “I’ve been stabbed,” he told police.
Authorities charged Hribal as an adult with four counts of attempted criminal homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of weapons on school property. He was arraigned Wednesday and is being held without bail in a juvenile detention center in Westmoreland County.
Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said someone pulled a fire alarm during the attack, raising attention and getting students and teachers to evacuate.
"When we got there we saw a hallway in chaos, as you can imagine," Seefeld said at a news conference. "There was a lot of evidence of blood on the floors and in the hallway, we had students running about, trying to get out of the area."
Nate Moore, 15, was stabbed during the rampage and said he had to be treated with 15 stitches.
"It was really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face. It spurted up on my forehead," Moore told The Associated Press.
Student Gracey Evans said heroes emerged during the attack.
"My best friend, he stepped in front of me and in the meantime, he got stabbed in the back protecting me," she said.
"You couldn't step a single place without pretty much stepping in blood."
At least 22 people were injured after the stabbings at the start of the school day, Westmoreland County emergency management spokesman Dan Stevens said.
The motive for the rampage is under investigation. Seefeld said officials were unaware of any warning signs from the suspect, a sophomore at the school.
At least four people with injuries emergency management officials described as "serious" were flown to hospitals for treatment. Others were not actually stabbed, he said, and some of their injuries included cuts and scrapes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.