EAST LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a 13-year-old in the stabbing death of a 14-year-old boy Friday at an East Los Angeles middle school.
L.A. County Fire Department personnel were dispatched at 3:08 p.m. Friday to Griffith Middle School, located at 4765 East 4th Street, where they found the victim suffering serious injuries. The stabbing occurred outside in the front area of the campus.
The boy was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
Homicide detectives say a 13-year-old Latino was taken into custody at his L.A. residence in connection to the stabbing at approximately 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
The teenager was transported to East L.A. sheriff’s station and booked for murder. The weapon was not located.
Friends identified the victim as Steven Cruz, a freshman at nearby Garfield High School.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Peter Daut spoke Friday with the teen’s girlfriend and best friend.
They say Cruz was on his way home when he stopped at the middle school to see friends and was confronted. The suspect — a student at Griffith Middle School — fled the scene before paramedics and deputies arrived.
CBS2’s Joy Benedict on Saturday spoke with the victim’s uncle and friends.
The family and friends gathered where Cruz was slain. They were still trying to make sense of the killing.
“He was a model kid, good student, good son. It’s really hard,” said Augie Chavez, Cruz’s uncle, who drove down from Bakersfield.
“Unfortunately now, not even in school are you safe,” said Chavez.
The boy’s mother and sister also attended the vigil but were too distraught to speak on camera.
Benedict asked Chavez if he was glad a suspect had been arrested.
“It’s not going to make any difference,” he said, “Steven is never going to be back … the family is destroyed.”
Friend Mariam Vasquez was also having trouble making sense of losing Steven.
“I don’t really understand why someone would do that to him,” she said, “he was such a good kid.”
CBS2’s Cristy Fajardo reported from a vigil being held for Cruz Saturday evening.
The vigil was held at the spot where he was stabbed.
“There were lots of kids consoling kids,” she reported.
Off-camera, the Cruz family said detectives told them the suspect said Cruz looked down on him setting off the confrontation.
Cruz’s family said that is something he would never have done. They said he dreamed of following in his sister’s footsteps to college and also to join the military.
Cruz’s family has set up a gofundme account to help pay for funeral expenses and a memorial service. For more information on how to donate, click here.