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'Will I Survive, Or Will I Die?' Stabbing Survivor Wondered

Brett Hurt, 16, a sophomore at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa., and a victim of the stabbings there Wednesday, talks with reporters about what happened. With him is his mother, Amanda Hurt, and some of the doctors at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, Pa.
Keith Srakocic

As he bled from a stab wound to his back Wednesday morning, the first thoughts that went through his mind were "will I survive, or will I die?" one of the high school students injured Wednesday in Murrysville, Pa., told reporters Thursday.

Brett Hurt was among the first of more than 20 people (most of them students) injured when a young man wielding two steak knives began stabbing and slashing at other teens.

During a remarkable news conference Thursday morning at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, Pa., the 16-year-old sophomore:

-- Downplayed talk that he's a hero. Brett says he didn't protect his friend Gracey Evans from harm by shielding her from the attacker. Instead, he says it was Gracey who saved his life.

While Gracey has told reporters she thinks Brett tried to push her out of the way, Brett says he had just been playfully knocking her around when he was stabbed from behind. He didn't see the attacker coming, he says.

As he bled, Brett told reporters, it was his friend who put pressure on his wound. "Gracey saved my life," he said.

-- Talked about the suspect, who he hopes can "forgive himself." Sixteen-year-old sophomore Alex Hribal is in custody and faces at least 25 charges (as an adult) stemming from the attack. Brett says he's met Alex a couple times but doesn't really know him.

"I don't know his reputation," Brett said, "but after today he's going to have a bad one."

Still, he appears to have some empathy. "He [Alex] has some issues he needs to work out," Brett said of the attacker, who he believes "made a really bad decision."

While it will be difficult for victims to forgive their attacker, Brett said it's the accused who "most of all ... needs to forgive himself."

Also at the news conference, Brett's mother — Amanda Hurt — expressed her:

-- Thanks to Gracey. "There is nothing in the world I can do to make up for what that girl has done," she said.

-- Thoughts about all the parents of those who were wounded. "I don't think any parent in the world would want to go through this agony," she said.

-- Hope the attacker can find peace. "What have we done to alienate this child?" she wondered. "I hope his family can find peace ... and this child can find peace."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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