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Franklin Regional stabbing victim: "I was pretty much in shock"

Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Junior Derek Jones, 17, who was wounded during an attack on April 9, 2014 at Franklin Regional High School, talks about his experience on April 24, 2014.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014, 11:35 p.m.

Derek Jones was looking forward to getting out of the hospital and into his own bed again.

But first, a cheeseburger.

“We went to King's on the way home,” said the 17-year-old Franklin Regional junior.

Jones had two surgeries at Forbes Hospital during his two weeks there after he was stabbed in the back at his high school on April 9 during a rampage by a fellow student. The wound on his right side is healing, but one of his kidneys had to be removed.

“It hurts a little bit, but it's not that bad,” he said Thursday afternoon, a day after he got home.

He was one of the most seriously injured of the 19 students and a security guard who were slashed or stabbed in a hallway just before classes started.

Two male students remain hospitalized at Forbes. Connor Warwick, 16, was in fair condition, and Greg Keener, 15, was listed in critical but stable condition, a hospital spokesman said.

Junior Jared Boger, 17, returned home on Wednesday, exactly two weeks after the attack. He was discharged from UPMC Presbyterian and is recovering from a stab wound in the left abdomen.

Sitting cross-legged on a couch at his grandparents' Murrysville home on Thursday, Jones recalled talking to his prom date, now his girlfriend, in the hallway before classes started that day.

“I did hear some running and screaming, and I did see the kid with knives,” said Jones, who didn't know his alleged attacker. “I positioned myself more so I would be the one to be stabbed and not her, and that's what happened.”

He managed to get into a nearby classroom, where classmates helped him until paramedics arrived.

“I was pretty much in shock,” he said.

Investigators believe sophomore Alex Hribal, 16, took two 8-inch steel kitchen knives to school and randomly attacked students before he was tackled by school officials. He has been charged as an adult and is being held without bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday.

Police have not released a motive.

That morning, Jackie and David Jones got a call from the hospital: Their grandson had been stabbed and was taken into surgery.

“He had so much stuff going into him” while he was being treated in the intensive care unit, Jackie Jones recalled. “Even though he didn't know I was there, he was breathing.”

The couple has had custody of their grandson since he was 3 months old.

Support for her grandson has poured in from around the world, she said.

“It makes you feel wonderful. We didn't have to worry about food,” she said. “Doctors and nurses were terrific. I just wish I could wrap my arms around a hospital and hug it.”

For now, Derek Jones looks forward to playing some country tunes on his guitar. He isn't nervous about the possibility of getting back to school, where he's a member of the bowling team and guitar ensemble.

He'd like to heal and move on with life.

“We'll get him through this,” Jackie Jones said. “He's been keeping us young.”

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or




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