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'My best friend took a knife for me': Teen witness to school stabbing recalls trauma

April 10, 2014 at 7:45 AM ET

Two teens who helped treat friends wounded in a massive school stabbing at their Pennsylvania high school said they remain stunned Thursday by the rampage they witnessed.

“I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night because I’m so traumatized,” Gracey Evans told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie.

The 17-year-old junior watched as a classmate began stabbing people around her in the halls of their suburban Pittsburgh school just moments before class started Wednesday. Evans said her best friend jumped in front of her right as the stabbing suspect approached.

“I was just so scared and I didn’t know what to do. All I could really think about was, did this just really happen?” Evans said, “Like, I couldn’t believe that my best friend just took a knife for me. I could tell you exactly how much blood was on that knife. It’s just too scary.”

Authorities have taken 16-year-old Alex Hribal into custody for the attack. They say the teen stabbed 20 fellow students and a security guard at Franklin Regional Senior High School before he was apprehended.

Kristen Beard, 16, lived down the street from Hribal but said the two didn’t interact much.

“He was always very quiet and I would have never expected anything from him like this,” she told Guthrie. “He was just quiet.”

Beard witnessed her prom date get stabbed in the attack. She helped pull him into a nearby classroom for safety and attended to his wounds while keeping him as calm as possible until help arrived.

“I was just holding his hand and rubbing his hand and trying to assure him it was going to be okay, and that we were going to prom and that he was going to be okay,” she said.

Beard was in the same room as Evans, who was applying pressure on a gaping wound of a seriously injured classmate.

“I actually had no idea how to do any of that. I just had a gut feeling that it wasn’t right for him to sit up and that he needed his airway cleared so I sat him down,” Beard said. “I said I needed to put pressure on the wounds so I got paper towels and I put pressure on the wound.”

She said the boy then started vomiting but an emergency medic had entered the room by then and asked her to move.

Authorities say Hribal will be charged as an adult. He faces four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. His attorney, Pat Thomassey, said Hribal needs to be seen by a psychiatrist to determine whether the teen is mentally fit to stand trial.

“This is a nice young man. He’s never been in trouble,” Thomassey said. “He’s not a loner. He works well with other kids at school.”

The boy's father, Harold Hribal, made a short statement outside of his home to reporters Wednesday.

"My prayers go out to everyone who was injured today and I hope they recover as quickly as possible," he said.

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