MONROEVILLE, Pa. – A student hailed as a hero for protecting a friend from a knife-wielding classmate said Thursday that the attack was a "blur" in his mind but that when he realized he was bleeding he was thinking "will I survive or will I die?"
Brett Hurt, a sophomore at Franklin Regional High in Murrysville, Pa., suffered a stab wound in the back and a bruised lung during the attack Wednesday that left more than 20 students wounded. Three remained hospitalized in intensive care Thursday, officials at Forbes Regional Hospital said. At least two others remained hospitalized but were expected to be released within a few days.
Brett's friend, Gracey Evans, has credited Brett with shielding her from the attacker. But Hurt told a hospital news conference that he remembers little of the attack.
"I remember messing around with Gracey, then getting hit in the back," Brett said. "That's when everything went straight into chaos."
"What was going through my mind?" he said in response to a media question. "Will I survive or will I die."
He said physicians told him he would be released soon from the hospital. He credited Gracey, a junior, with applying pressure to his wound at the scene, slowing the bleeding.
"She saved my life," Brett said.
Brett said he had met the accused attacker, 16-year-old Alex Hribal, once or twice. But he said he does not really know him.
"He'll have to do the work to forgive himself," Brett said. "Everybody has more than one road to take in life. You chose what path to take. Everybody can make right or wrong decisions."
Brett's mother, Amanda Leonard, said she was thankful that her son's condition was improving. She said she has thanked Gracey.
"There is nothing in the world I can do for that girl that can thank her enough for what she has done," Amanda Hurt said.
There have been reports that Hribal was teased at school. Leonard said bullying needs to be addressed in all schools.
"In this time and age there's more bullying than anyone wants to say," Leonard said. Kids who are bullied fear coming forward will lead to more bullying, she said.
Leonard said she hopes the suspect's family "will find peace and come out and say why he did what he did."