Attacker Alex Hribal: 'Mental health should be taken way more seriously'
Alex Hribal took the witness stand Monday and faced a WestmorelandCounty courtroom crowded with some of his 21 victims and their families.
It was the first time he made public comments about what he did on April 9, 2014, when as a 16-year-old he selected two knives from the kitchen of his Murrysville home, took them to Franklin Regional High School and stabbed and slashed 20 classmates and a security guard in a hallway.
He feels “horrible” about it, he told them.
Hribal, 20, testified that the stabbings were part of his plan to kill himself.
Here's what he had to say when he took the witness stand:
“I want some lasting good to come out of this situation. I want people to not make the same mistakes I did.
“Everyone dealing with mental illness should know they don't have to go through their struggles alone. Not only that, but it's a really bad idea to even try to go through it on your own without professional help or support — and support from loved ones.
“I tried to do that, and looking back on it I would rather get mental health treatment in prison than be free out in society with no treatment or family that is aware of what is going on. Which means if prison is preferable to mental health problems, mental health should be taken way more seriously by individuals and by society in general.
“But I think my biggest mistake was falsely believing that if I took revenge and treated people the way some of them treated me I would be happy. All it got me was a ruined life and a bunch of people that really miss me.
“So I implore people in our area, around the country and all over the planet to treat each other the way they treat themselves (and) would like to be treated. The world would be much better because of it, starting with stuff like this ever happening again.
“I would also like to say that bullying is such a problem these days. That you can, you can do anything at Franklin Regional. It's not just the school, it's — I mean, it's like if you go out and get rid of Franklin Regional or you fixed it or whatever, it doesn't matter. It would be like cutting off one blade of grass and that being, you know, mowing your lawn. It's not like fixing the problem. Treating each other the way people would like to be treated is the solution.
“And I also want to say that I feel horrible about everything. I mean, there's no words I can use, nothing I can say to make it all better. Nothing I can say to fix it.
“I mean, if you think I'm not, when I was sitting over there and listening to everyone's testimony, I was shaking. My heartbeat was racing. You can't fake that. That's emotion.
“But thank you for your time. I appreciate it. And that's all I have to say. God bless.”