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Murrysville cop who served as Franklin Regional resource officer retires

| Thursday, May 8, 2014, 4:30 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Murrysville Star Office Buzz Yakshe presented a series of mini-lessons through a video and and discussion for kindergarten, first and second grade students at Sloan Elementary last week. Karen Connors second-grade class answers questions about the video and the police department.

A Murrysville police officer, who was instrumental in apprehending a stabbing suspect at Franklin Regional High School, retired on Wednesday.

William “Buzz” Yakshe is a 20-year veteran who has been the district's school resource officer since 2004, according to police Chief Tom Seefeld.

Franklin Regional Assistant Superintendent Mary Catherine Reljac said administrators are sad to see Yakshe go.

“He has been a fixture for our school district and truly has developed wonderful relationships with our students,” Reljac said. “He has done so much good for us. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Yakshe could not be reached. Seefeld declined further comment.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Yakshe was in his school office on April 9 when the stabbing rampage began.

He eventually handcuffed the suspect, 16-year-old sophomore Alex Hribal, after school faculty members tackled him.

Hribal injured 20 students and a security guard with two 8-inch kitchen knives he took to school, according to police. Investigators found a handwritten note in Hribal's locker that indicated he planned the attack.

Two students remain patients at Forbes Regional Hospital in fair condition — Greg Keener, 15, and Connor Warwick, 16.

Other Murrysville police officers have maintained apresence at district schools since classes resumed on April 16, one week after the stabbings, said Seefeld and Reljac.

Yakshe helped to develop the strategy of getting students and faculty acclimated to the high school upon their return, Reljac said. It involved allowing students to visit the building with their families on April 15, with the support of counselors and therapy dogs.

Yakshe had been on leave since a few days after the incident, Reljac said.

Yakshe immediately contacted other Murrysville officers on the morning of April 9 via police radio, “stating that there was a critical incident occurring and that he needed assistance,” Seefeld said at a press conference that day.

Yakshe and school security guard John Resetar, 69, of North Irwin began canvassing the school in opposite directions after hearing a commotion, the criminal complaint says.

Moments later, Yakshe found Resetar in a first-floor science wing with a stab wound to the stomach. An assistant principal tackled Hribal, and Yakshe handcuffed the teen, according to the complaint.

Gov. Tom Corbett called Yakshe a hero during a news conference hours after the incident.

Murrysville Mayor Bob Brooks said having an officer at the school may have helped “to shorten the response time and make sure people got care.”

“That 10 minutes extra, I'm confident, saved some lives,” Brooks said. “I do know he loves all those kids.”

Administrators hope to have a full-time school resource officer for the start of the 2014-15 school year.

“It has been our pleasure to partner with Murrysville Police Department as well as Officer Buzz as our resource officer,” Reljac said.

Yakshe's duties included building a rapport with students and making them feel safe, as well as investigating criminal matters, talking to students about the dangers of drinking and driving, and organizing seminars for younger students on Internet safety.

In 2009, Yakshe told a reporter that he didn't spend much time in his office at the school, but students were always invited to come in to chat.

“I don't ever have a typical day,” he said then.

Brooks recalled seeing Yakshe reading to kindergartners. “He's a big softie; that's a great thing for the school district,” Brooks said.

Yakshe was honored as Officer of the Year in 2009 by the Rotary Club of Murrysville-Export.

Hribal is charged as an adult with 21 counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault, along with illegal possession of a weapon on school property. A June 4 preliminary hearing is set.

Renatta Signorini and Daveen Rae Kurutz are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Signorini can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com. Kurutz can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8627 or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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