LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The 18-year-old man accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend on a high school campus last week was charged Monday with murder and other charges.
Security was stepped up this week at South East High School in South Gate, where Abraham Lopez allegedly stabbed his ex-girlfriend, 17-year-old Cindi Santana.
The Los Angeles Unified School District provided counselors on campus Monday for students and staffers who wanted to discuss the incident.
Lopez remained jailed without bail at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles on suspicion of murder.
The 18-year-old allegedly stabbed Santana during a lunchtime fight in a courtyard before being subdued. A varsity football player and a female dean also were stabbed while trying to stop the attack, school police said.[
“During the argument (Lopez) began suddenly striking (Santana) with his fists and then pushed her to the ground,” Deputy Benjamin Grubb of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a statement today. “The suspect then stabbed the victim several times before being subdued.”
Lopez, who was first taken to a hospital to be checked out, was booked on suspicion of murder, Los Angeles Unified School District Police Chief Steven K. Zipperman said.
Witnesses described Lopez grabbing Santana and putting her in a headlock, as several people tried to intervene in a courtyard away from classrooms. It was unclear what kind of knife Lopez used or how he got it on campus.
It took about 15 stitches to close a cut on the football player’s arm, according to published reports.
Santana died during surgery at St. Francis Medical Center. She reportedly suffered wounds to her back and side.
Some parents questioned why Lopez was allowed on campus, since he had been arrested earlier last week for allegedly making threats against Santana and her family. Authorities said he was released on Tuesday when prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to file charges.
“You don’t expect to have those kind of problems in this school,” said one father, as he dropped off his daughter at school.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy said the South Gate Police Department never notified the school with a protective order.
“We have a protocol in terms of protection for students,” Deasy said. “We work with police but we weren’t notified.”
A protective order would have allowed for Lopez to be transferred to another school.
Santana’s mother had notified the school principal about Lopez’s alleged threats, and campus security officials were on the lookout for Lopez — but he never came to school last week.
LAUSD officials were working, calling for schools to take steps to prevent teen-dating violence. The resolution calls for the appointment of a “prevention coordinator” to spearhead efforts to educate students and district workers about violence prevention.
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