Bishop, Churches Respond to School Stabbings


Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton called upon all people of faith to be in prayer for the students and families of Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, where 21 students and one adult were stabbed as the school day began. Police said a 16-year-old sophomore was tackled and disarmed by an assistant principal and security guard and taken into custody. 

The injured were taken to several area hospitals.  At least four required surgery, among them a member of First United Methodist Church in Murrysville who was said to be among the most critically injured. On Saturday morning, April 12, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Greg Keener, 15, underwent his third surgery.

"His liver is regenerating itself already," Greg's father Rick Keener told the newspaper. "We're real pleased, real happy with his progress."

Keener also told the newspaper that the family was supported by the prayers of First UMC members and others. 

"We've been getting prayers from all over the world," Keener said. "There's a military base in Afghanistan that's praying for him. It's been incredible."

The suspect, identified as Alex Hribal, 16, was arraigned before District Judge Charles Conway in Export, PA on four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault, and an additional count of possession of a prohibited weapon on school property. A request for bail was denied. 

Bishop Bickerton asked for prayer "not only for the injured and their families, but for all of the students of the Franklin Regional School District who will be affected by this for a lifetime, and for the person who committed this act and his family.

"It is unfortunate that in our world today more and more people find themselves dealing with circumstances like this. At these times, people of faith are called to seek God’s presence and pray for God to bring healing and wholeness to all those involved," the Bishop said. 

The Rev. Chris Livermore, pastor of First UM Church in Murrysville, was among the clergy who were ministering to families at local hospitals.  

In response to the stabbings, Holiday Park United Methodist Church off Route 286 in Plum Borough offered a free meal to the public at 6 p.m., followed by a prayer service at 7 p.m. Garden City United Methodist Church at 500 Laurel Drive in Monroeville scheduled a prayer service at 6 p.m. 

The school was to remain closed through the week as police continue to investigate.