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KFOX14 reporter, Pittsburgh-area high school alumnus speaks to students who witness stabbing

By: Jamel Valencia
EL PASO, Texas -- Josh Zuber immediately picked up the phone and called friends he grew up with once he learned of an attack at a Pittsburgh-area high school he attended.

The attack unfolded Wednesday morning just minutes before the start of classes at 1,200-student Franklin Regional High School, in an upper-middle-class area 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. It was over in about five minutes, during which a boy ran wildly down about 200 feet of hallway, slashing away with knives about 8 to 10 inches long, police said.

Zuber couldn't believe the news happening at his alma mater. In 2005, Zuber graduated from Franklin Regional High School.

"I always thought of it as one of the safest schools in the country," said Zuber.

Police said Alex Hribal, 16, allegedly stabbed and slashed 21 students and a security guard in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him, the Associated Press reports.

High school friends of Zuber that he keeps in contact with through social media talked about the tragedy as events unfolded.

"One of my friends' brothers was there today," said Zuber.

"A couple students, I know from friends, are hanging on to their lives after having surgeries."

Over a Skype interview with KFOX14, Quaide Simek, a student at Franklin Regional High School, described what he saw.

"At first I thought it was a fight and I was about to see what it was, and then I saw the actual kid walk by with the knife in the opposite direction. That's when I grabbed Jason and we kind of started running out and getting everyone to follow us," said Simek.

At least five students were critically wounded, including a boy who was on a ventilator after a knife pierced his liver, missing his heart and aorta by only millimeters, doctors said.

"I actually didn't get a look at him but I did at the knife. I did see he was kind of hunched over, and he did look like real determined," described Simek.

Franklin Regional High School students also say they had known the suspect, reported by a couple of media outlets in Pittsburgh as Alex Hribal, 16.

The suspect is expected to be charged as an adult.

Franklin Regional High School is expected to be closed for several days, according to an announcement from the district's voice message system.