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Injured Franklin Regional sophomore hopes he can forgive stabber one day

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By Luis Fábregas and Renatta Signorini
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:15 p.m.

Screaming in pain and bleeding onto the hallway floor at Franklin Regional Senior High School, Brett Hurt thought he might not live.

“Will I survive or will I die?” Hurt, 16, a sophomore, recalled on Thursday. “It was all kind of like a blur.”

Hurt remained composed as he spoke publicly from a wheelchair at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville, holding hands with his mother, Amanda Leonard.

Hurt, who was stabbed in the back, was discharged on Thursday afternoon along with another, unidentified student. Five students remained hospitalized at Forbes, spokesman Dan Laurent said.

Hurt said he hardly knew Alex Hribal, 16, a sophomore charged with a mass stabbing attack on Wednesday, but had encountered him a few times. He said Hribal “has some issues that he needs to work out.”

“I hope I can forgive him one day,” said Hurt, an active member of a church group who likes to lift weights. “I think he could have chosen a different path to take, because everyone has more than one road to take in life. You choose which path you want to take, and that path will lead you on to your consequences later in the future.”

One of Hurt's close friends, Gracey Evans, said he saved her life by stepping in to shield her from Hribal as he slashed students and a security guard with two kitchen knives.

“He saved me. He's my hero in all of this,” Evans, 17, said of Hurt. The junior said she saw the suspect as he stabbed as many as three people in 30 seconds.

Hurt suggested it was Evans who saved him, by putting pressure on his wound to stop the bleeding before paramedics arrived. He described the scene as developing quickly as he watched people run in different directions.

“Gracey was screaming and asking me if I was all right and trying to keep pressure on my back,” he said.

His mother cried as she described the moment when she heard about the rampage.

“It's a godsend to have my child alive,” said Leonard, who has a daughter who attends Franklin Regional. “When my daughter called me to tell me what happened, I dropped. I don't think any parent would ever want to go through that agony.”

Asked about Hribal, Leonard said: “I hope his family can find peace, and I hope this child can find peace and show his true feelings on what he did.”

She said she is grateful to Evans, whom she hugged and kissed when they saw each other at the hospital.

“I'm proud of her as much as I'm proud of my son,” Leonard said.

Hurt moved to the Franklin Regional district last year. He has talked about joining the military someday, Evans said.

Right now, he wants to build enough strength to go to the prom on May 9.

“He says he plans on dancing,” Leonard said.

Luis Fábregas is Trib Total Media's medical editor. Reach him at 412-320-7998 or Reach staff writer Renatta Signorini at 724-837-5374 or Staff writer Daveen Kurutz contributed.



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