A Bronx high schooler who school administrators said was bullied stabbed two teenage classmates during class on Wednesday, killing one and leaving the other in critical condition.
"We believe this argument, this thing, has been going on maybe two weeks into the school year, and it escalated today after some back and forth in the classroom," said Chief Robert Boyce of the New York Police Department.
A 15-year-old boy, identified by the New York Post as Matthew McCree, died at St. Barnabas Hospital shortly after being stabbed in the chest. A 16-year-old boy remains at the hospital in a critical but stable condition, also with chest wounds.
The alleged killer is Abel Cedeno, an 18-year-old from the Bronx, according to the New York Post. The NYPD will not confirm any names of the people involved.
“It was about what it’s always about, bullying,” Kevin Sampson, the dean at the school, told the New York Times, adding he performed CPR on one of the victims.
The Post spoke with one of Cedeno's friends, identified only as Tanaisha B, who said that Cedeno became frustrated after being bullied for being "flamboyant."
“They were harassing him and that’s when he did what he did,” Tanaisha B told the Post.
Police could not confirm details of the alleged bullying. When Boyce was asked about it at a press conference, he said, “That’s still being developed right now. ... We’re speaking to this individual now. To get that is one side of the narrative, so we don’t have that full story yet.”
But he said the school did not have any official complaint about bullying between the boys.
“As far as we know there has been nothing on record between these students,” said Boyce.
The incident took place at 10:45 a.m. at Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, during third-period history class. The class had been going for 30 minutes when a confrontation occurred and the stabbing took place, police said. Around 15–20 students were in the room during the attack.
After the stabbing, Cedeno walked out of the classroom, gave the switchblade to a guidance counselor in the hallway, and went and sat in the assistant principal's office awaiting police.
The school does not have metal detectors, although random security tests will take place at the school from tomorrow.
“It would have been picked up on the metal detectors, no question,” Chief Boyce told reporters.
The school rates low both academically and on safety. A 2016–17 school survey found that only 19% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that "order and discipline are maintained" at the high school. Only 22% of surveyed students agreed or strongly agreed that students treat each other with respect.