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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

By Richard Simon and Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times

MURRYSVILLE, PA — Students who witnessed Wednesday’s stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional High School felt as if they had survived a horror movie.

Some attended an evening prayer service for at least 19 students and two adults who were wounded in the morning attack. Alex Hribal, 16, has been charged as an adult with four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of bringing a weapon on school property, said his attorney, Patrick Thomassey. Hribal is being held without bail.

Brenda Gossar, a 10th-grader, was standing at her locker when she turned around and saw a young man stabbing people, she said. One of her friends was stabbed in the back, and Gossar feared she might be next.

“I just ran,” she said.

Other friends were wounded too.

“I thought it was a dream,” Gossar said.

Later, she visited her injured friends in the hospital, where one was in critical condition.

The suspect, Hribal, had been bullied, she said.

“People picked on him,” she said. “I think he targeted people who were bullying him, who he didn’t like. He looked scared, and he looked angry.”

Hribal was quiet, she said, and he had ignored the bullying until Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday night, Gossar had to excuse herself from a prayer service at Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church, which is about a block from the school, to meet with a grief counselor because she’s having trouble dealing with the violence, she said.

She isn’t the only one. “It will be hard for us to walk in the hallways and not think of it, but we’re going to pull through,” she said.

The school is temporarily closed while authorities investigate. Ministers and grief counselors have been made available to the students.

Some of the stabbing victims and their friends joined hundreds of others at another prayer service down the road, at Cornerstone Ministries. Many wore the yellow and blue attire of the Franklin Regional High School Panthers.

Nate Scimio was there, surrounded by his friends, after posting a selfie of himself in a hospital gown and a bandaged arm. He declined to speak to the media.

Sydney Contraguero, a senior, said she was in an upstairs hallway when the fire alarm sounded. She followed Jared Boger, a fellow student, down the stairs, and saw another student coming toward them. At first she thought the student, Hribal, was going to hug Boger, she said. But when Hribal ran away, Boger was bleeding.

“I didn’t even know until I saw blood on the ground,” she said. “It all happened so quick.”

Outside, she saw a girl with a neck wound and a boy with a leg injury, she said.

Boger was still unconscious late Wednesday night, according to a Twitter feed belonging to his brother, Carter.

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