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Twenty-One People Slashed, Stabbed at School; Signal Detected In Flight 370 Search

Aired April 10, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But the prosecution isn't buying it and we'll tell you why. Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, April 10th. Now 6:00 in the east. Five minutes that a Pittsburgh suburb will never forget. A 16-year-old described as smart and, quote, "the shy kid in the corner went on an absolute rampage with knives in both hands." He is now being charged as an adult after the vicious knife attack at his high school.

We've just learned a search warrant has been served on his family's home. That makes sense given this level of the investigation. His phone, his computer, the entire digital footprint seized as well as his parents' computers. The teen, again, armed with two eight-inch blades, stabbed or slashed 21 people Wednesday morning.

On the scene is Miguel Marquez in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. He has the latest -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Chris. This happened in a particularly vulnerable time at the school. Just the beginning of the day. Students were not in the classrooms. They were in the hallways. There were many heroes in all of this. Two assistant principals who subdued this young man. When they did, he said he wanted to die.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): It has happened again. This time a 16-year-old sophomore. Alex Hribal armed with two eight-to ten-inch kitchen knives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was blood all over the floor. Someone yelled, she got stabbed.

MARQUEZ: Stabbing in some cases, slashing classmates and even a school police officer. Panic just after 7:00 a.m.

KARA INGERSOLL, WITNESS: I was seeing people getting shoved into lockers. That's whenever the boy ran past me and I saw him tackle someone else. And that's when everyone just started screaming and running out of the door.

MARQUEZ: Police arriving within minutes, the fire alarm sounding. Chaos.

CHIEF THOMAS SEEFELD, MURRYSVILLE POLICE: A lot of evidence of blood on the floors in the hallway. We had students running about trying to get out of the area.

MARQUEZ: And there were heroic acts. The assistant principals who tackled Hribal then subdued him. Students who applied pressure to the wounds of their friends, never leaving their sides. The FBI descending on the suspect's residence. Agents seized Hribal's personal computer, searching for clues on what made him go on this rampage. Hribal's father, clearly shaken, only had words for the victims. Hribal's lawyer says this is completely uncharacteristic of Alex and something must have set him off.

PATRICK THOMASSEY, SUSPECT'S ATTORNEY: This is a nice young man. He's never been in trouble. He's not a loner. He works well with other kids at school.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What sort of kid is he?

INGERSOLL: He's a quiet kid who just sits in the back of the classroom. You don't hear too much from him.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): For parents here, shock.

KAREN INGERSOLL, MOTHER OF STUDENT: We saw the news and what did it say something about a blood bath? You can't believe you're looking at that and it's your school because it's always somebody else's school.


MARQUEZ: This is a very quiet idyllic sort of neighborhood and town. It is shocking that it would happen here. One thing that neighbors -- or witnesses did say to us, this is a three-inch knife. He had an eight- to ten-inch kitchen knife on him. He was holding it like this and stabbing into the lower part of individuals. One person saying that the boyfriend of a girl stepped in front of the way, taking the blow instead of her -- Chris.

CUOMO: Miguel, your knives aside, and we do hear that he was aiming for the chest as well. A lot of chest wounds, you know, the words that are coming out of you now we've all heard too many times. And the questions are familiar, but just as important as always. Why did this happen? And how was it stopped? We're going to get answers to both of those hopefully today, Miguel. Thank you for the reporting.

Coming up on NEW DAY, in just a few minutes we're going to be speaking with the attorney for this disturbed young man.

Also, we're going to talk to the superintendent of schools and the student who was in the hallway and survived the rampage. We'll have all that for you coming up. Stay with us.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now to breaking news, in the search for Malaysia Flight 370. Officials confirming just minutes ago that searchers detected a possible underwater signal in their search for the missing jetliner. That still needs to be analyzed, but it is yet another promising lead. This would be the first ping heard and detected since Tuesday. The search zone has already been narrowed to focus on where those initial pings were heard in the past week.

Erin McLaughlin is live in Perth, Australia, with the very latest on this news. So tell us more about the news that just came out moments ago -- Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate, that's right. Australian officials confirming to CNN that the RAAF Orion plane, that's an Australian P3 picked up signals in the vicinity of the "Ocean Shield" from sonar buoys that were deployed. The acoustic data will need to be analyzed overnight, but it is promising.

Now, in addition to that very sensitive work that the "Ocean Shield" is carrying out with that American-provided towed ping locator combing the water trying to pick up on the pings, they deployed these P-3s capable of deploying 80 at a time, capable of detecting possible pings in the surrounding areas.

This is significant because it tells officials here in Australia that the batteries at this point they say are most likely associated with the black box pinger have not died. They are still detecting these pings that means they are getting more information to be able to narrow down a potential search field.

And that's important for them to deploy the underwater autonomous vehicle on board that "Ocean Shield," the American provided Bluefin 21. The narrower the search field, the easier it's going to be for them to be able to go underneath the water and find the actual wreckage.

Some very promising developments here in Australia. But again, they're still -- while they're saying they're promising signals they do still need to determine whether or not these are, in fact, from the missing plane -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Erin, let's dig deeper on this latest news just coming in with Mary Schiavo. She is a CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general of the Department of Transportation. She is also an attorney who represents victims and families after airplane disasters. And David Gallo, co-leader in the search for Air France 447 and director of Special Projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Good morning to both of you. Mary, let me get your take real quick on what Erin was just reporting. I hope you were able to hear her --


BOLDUAN: I believe this was the first time we've had a sonar detection, acoustic detection from one of the planes from the sonar buoys, what does this tell you?

SCHIAVO: Well, it tells us a couple of things. One that the batteries apparently are still alive, which is very, very good news. They extended their regulatory shelf life, if you will. But also that the sonar buoys that they are dropping are helping and that's good. Because they've dropped an awful a lot of them and now perhaps they will be able to narrow the search area.

So once the underwater submersibles go into the water it will be weeks and not months. There have been other accidents where it's taken many months after the pingings were picked up to actually find it. Here they want to limit that, narrow it down.

BOLDUAN: Narrowing it down, David, is exactly the whole goal of what they've been doing over the past few days since the past week since they've had the initial pings. Talk to me a little bit about how sonar buoys assist in the search. When I started learning about sonar buoys and they drop some 84 of them overnight, I was a bit confused because they only can really -- they put a microphone down just some 1,000 feet when you have a TPL that can go down 20,000 feet.

DAVID GALLO, CNN ANALYST: Yes. The advantage of these buoys, the sonobuoys is they can hang just below the thermolayer in the ocean. Above that you can block the sound because the density of the water is different. These can be very quiet. There's no ship at all. These have no ship attached. They are dropped by an airplane and that's fantastic. Just perfect quiet.

BOLDUAN: The quiet is an important part of this, Mary, because we have the "Ocean Shield," which obviously has been taking the lead in trying to track the pings and further pings. We've also been told the HMS Echo was going to be moved into that area. I found that a little surprising just for the pure fact they wanted utter silence if possible.

SCHIAVO: Well, but once they move it in, they will shut down absolutely all unnecessary equipment to try to maintain the silence. Moving it in and getting in position will be noisy, but then they can literally quiet down the ship just as it did with the "Ocean Shield." The "Ocean Shield" had to do that as well.

The thought with more ears, sonar buoys and the "Echo" along with the "Shield," they don't know how long their luck will hold on these batteries. They've been lucky on the length of the batteries, but they could stop at any day.

BOLDUAN: Talk to me further about what kind of information this latest detection can offer. They obviously say they need more analysis, but what kind of analysis are they going to go through right now to help inform their search?

GALLO: The most important thing is how many sounds are they hearing? Can they locate one source on the bottom? Can they locate both black boxes? That's critically important because when they put that -- the Bluefin 21 in the water they're going to want to throw it like a dart into the bull's-eye. You don't want to take a lot of risks with that, with that piece of technology. So every time they get a hit or hear a ping they can narrow down that search zone.

BOLDUAN: How much narrower would they prefer to have it? Of course, they would like it to be just absolutely a bull's-eye, but we've got the two pings that are further apart or some 15s, 17 miles apart. I guess we could say that's large, but it's really small when you think about where we began.

GALLO: That's right, Kate. That's where they detected the pings. So maybe the locations of the boxes are close together. That's where the TPL was when they heard the pings or the sonobuoy was. They may be closer together. Ideally the pings would take them right to the location of the black boxes, but anything close, compared to what we had to work with in the beginning, this is fantastic.

BOLDUAN: So you have this new today, Mary, what do you do you take from it? What do they do now? Do they move more of these buoys around or drop more in or does this assist in their triangulation as we are now learning about?

SCHIAVO: Well, I think at least for today and probably tomorrow, they will use the assets they have there to listen and narrow it down. If they are still getting pings and they still haven't been able to narrow it down then maybe more resources. For now they're going to let those resources work.

BOLDUAN: And they're going to have to working quite hard. As we know, David, they've got these batteries are running out, but this is promising, right?

GALLO: Very promising. Again, think of where we were a week ago when we had no idea where in the Indian Ocean the plane was likely to be. Now every single time they get another ping it's adding more to the evidence that this is the spot.

BOLDUAN: Improve the calculation. I want to talk about what's going to happen when we do send that Bluefin down, what happens when we go under the surface to try to get eyes on whatever is down there next time we speak with you guys. Mary, David, thank you so much. John, over to you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now, Oscar Pistorius being grilled on the witness stand at his murder trial. Prosecutors trying to trip him up as he talks about his relationship with his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, the woman he shot and killed. He says accidentally. Pistorius admits he never told Steenkamp that he loved her and never apologized to her family in person. We're going to go live in the courthouse in Pretoria in just a few minutes. It has been quite a morning there.

The clock ticking in Ukraine. The government giving protesters who have taken over government buildings and called for succession 48 hours either to negotiate or face Ukrainian forces. A short time ago the president there said protesters will not be prosecuted if they disarm and walk away.

In the meantime, Moscow is saying there is no reason to worry about the 40,000 or so Russian troops near that border, saying they're conducting military exercises. The U.S. has accused Russia of stirring up protests as an excuse to send its military over the border into Ukraine.

An intense manhunt under way in Florida this morning as police look for the man they say was behind a deadly car crash at a daycare center. Robert Alice Corchado was allegedly behind the wheel went his SUV hit another car pushing it into a daycare center near Orlando. One child died. Another 14 were hurt. Police say it appears he ditched the SUV and is now trying to get out of town.

A congressional briefing today set to point the finger at Russia for failing to give the FBI enough information about one of the Boston marathon bombing suspects. The report is expected to say that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had raised suspicions at least two years before the attack, but it was only after the attack that Russia provided more details including a phone call where Tsarnaev discussed Islamic Jihad.

Of course, we are just one week away from the anniversary of that attack in Boston. A little more than a week away until the next running in Boston marathon.

CUOMO: It will be very important to be up there. Just like we covered when things were terrible, it's now important to cover Boston strong and show how far it is come. We're looking forward to being up there.

Well, so far this morning the news has been bleak. We need something good. A lot of pressure, but I'm feeling good about where we're going right now with meteorologist, Indra Petersons. It's got to be something. I know there is rain.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know there's rain, but I have good news. We've been waiting for so long. What a horrible winter we went through. You can see the middle of the country. Down in the southeast, clear. That is good news because today is round one of the masters. Look at that. Gorgeous into the southeast today. That's the beautiful weather there.

Yes, you we know, there is some rain but it is light. Maybe up towards the front. By Friday into the northeast. Clearing out in the northeast for the weekend. That is key. The Midwest will see some showers over the weekend. A second system behind it moves in. Get over the rain, look at this.

We were talking about above normal temperatures even in the Midwest after two fronts go through. No biggie. Even the northeast, front goes through. Who cares? You're even talking about 60s out there. Even some 70s once you talk about D.C. Go farther down in the southeast, 70s getting close to the 80s.

If you are going west though, it is hot. Maybe this time a little bit too hot. Record breaking heat. Over 100 degrees in many places so that's the tough spot but overall everyone is warm and dry, kind of. At least by Saturday and Sunday. That's the key there. Dry.

BOLDUAN: All right. Thanks.

BERMAN: Well-done.

BOLDUAN: Well-done, bravo, my friend.

CUOMO: I feel the mandate was met.

BOLDUAN: Perfect.

CUOMO: Something you don't here often days.

Coming up on NEW DAY, everything we know about this teen stabbing suspect. Very important we understand why this happened, how to stop it going forward. We do know this community is in shock because no one who knows this kid can believe he did this. What's his defense going to be in court? His attorney is going to join us live.

BOLDUAN: Plus, the prosecutor hammering Oscar Pistorius in court, saying he picked on Reeva Steenkamp and never told her he loved her. More on this brutal cross-examination coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

It is hard to believe that no one saw Wednesday's high school knife attack coming. But that's what we're hearing from teenage suspect's parents, his classmates are describing him as smart, quiet, a typical, even well-liked kid. So how do we make sense of this? How does somebody change into something so ugly and terrible?

Let's get more perspective from the man who will have to defend this suspect in court. His attorney, Patrick Thomassey.

Mr. Thomassey, thank you for joining us this morning.

Hopefully we'll benefit from your perspective on this kid. What's your best guess as to why this happened?

PATRICK THOMASSEY, DEFENSE ATORNEY FOR ALEX HRIBAL: We're trying to figure that out. The first thing we want to do this morning is to get his parents to see him. I mean, this child left for school yesterday morning and that's the last time they saw him.

This is a nice young boy. I mean, nobody would expect this. This is not a dysfunctional family. They are like the Brady Bunch. These parents are active with their two sons. And we're trying to figure out what happened.

So we're going to get some mental health experts involved with this and try to figure it out.

CUOMO: Well, you know, it's hard for people to see him as a nice young kid when he goes rampaging through the halls of the school with two knives in his hands. You know, obviously, everything he did was not nice and the question is why he did it. Do you know anything about any history? You say get mental health involved now. Were they involved in the past? Was the kid bullied? There has to be something.

THOMASSEY: There has -- he has never had any mental health problems whatsoever. He's never been in a juvenile court system. He was a well-liked student.

He wasn't -- you know how some kids refer to other students as weir weirdoes. He's not. He's not a loner. He interacted well with other students.

So, we're going to try to figure out what happened here. Obviously, there's a problem. You just don't leave and go to school and do what he did yesterday.

And the parents are horrified by this, naturally. This is not their son. They can't figure it out, either. But obviously, there was some deep-rooted problem somewhere which caused him to do this.

Right now, he's -- you know, he's a young kid. He's frightened. He's scared. He's depressed.

So we're going to try to help him out and I'll figure out what happened here.

CUOMO: Sixteen, he still has good reason to feel all of those things right now because imagine what the victims are feeling and their families after what happened yesterday. The digital footprint is going to be very important.

Does the family know where this kid was online, what he's been saying, who he may have become there, what he's been influenced by?

THOMASSEY: Yes. This wasn't a family or isn't a family that ignored their children. They were very cognizant of who they communicated with online. There wasn't any arguments or any beef that he had with any other student that we're aware of.

I've heard these rumors about being bullied. I don't believe that's true. I haven't had enough time to really sit with him and talk this through. I got to see him yesterday for about 20 minutes before he was arraigned and taken away to the juvenile center. But in the next few days we'll sit down and I'll talk through this and try to determine where we go from here.

CUOMO: Tell me about those 20 minutes.

THOMASSEY: Well, you know, they had taken him to the hospital because he had some injuries himself. And he was frightened, sad, depressed, sort of disoriented, quite frankly.

Everything was happening so quickly. He had been in custody by the time I saw him for about 12 or 13 hours. And I didn't get to spend that much time with him. But I will do that today.

CUOMO: Did you find the opportunity to ask him why did you do this?

THOMASSEY: Well, I'm not going to -- you know, I don't want to share my discussions with him. We're going to fig their out down the road.

CUOMO: Did he have a reason?

THOMASSEY: I'm not being rude --

CUOMO: You don't have to tell me what it was but did he have a reason?

THOMASSEY: No, not that I'm aware of at this point.

CUOMO: Well, that's the most troubling thing, right? Absence of any type of motivation is usually an indication of significant instability.


CUOMO: So the question is what it is. It can't be nothing. It can't be a mystery. It can't be a one off. It never is, counselor. You know that.

THOMASSEY: No, I know that. And like I said, I'm sure that at a certain point we'll find out what caused this. There -- maybe there is something that was going on at school that I'm not aware of yet or his parents aren't aware of yet.

And -- but you're absolutely right. This kind of situation doesn't occur just for no reason. I'm sure there's something there that his parents were not aware of that he will ultimately reveal to me, I hope.

CUOMO: And the weapons involved. Were these just knives that he grabbed out of his folks' kitchen or are these things that he obtained outside the home, were they tactical knives, were they hunting knifes?

THOMASSEY: No, they were just regular steak knives that you or I will have in our drawer another home in our own homes. They were just, you know, as his father even remarked to me, I've never had a reason to count the knives in the drawer, for goodness sakes. Just regular knives.

CUOMO: Counselor, one last question. Procedurally, are you looking to remove this and keep it in juvenile court? There's going to be somewhat of an effort to charge him as an adult. Why do you think he deserves to be treated as a juvenile?

THOMASSEY: Well, he is charged as an adult now under Pennsylvania law. There's a specific law. So the burden's on the defense to try to convince the judge to send it to juvenile court for disposition.

And the factors that go into that are factors that you normally would talk about. His lack of a criminal history, his family ties, his mental capacity, those are all things that normally you have mental health experts testify in court about those. And the standard actually is whether he's amenable to treatment in the juvenile system. In Pennsylvania they would have jurisdiction over him for five years, until he was 21 years old.

CUOMO: Did they have guns in the house?


CUOMO: Mr. Thomassey, this is very confusing. Sorry to put you to the test here this morning but you know in situations like this --


CUOMO: -- it makes so little sense. It is so horrific to so big a portion of the community, that the best we can do to figure out why and help stop it and make sure the right thing happens for the victims and families here is of paramount importance. That's why the questions have to be direct.

Thank you for joining us.


CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Chris, thanks.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, Oscar Pistorius sparring with the prosecution at his murder trial. Even forced to admit he never got to tell Reeva Steenkamp he loved her. We're going to go live to Pretoria for more.

And also ahead, a new ping detected in the search for Flight 370. We'll have the very latest on the search, coming up.