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Teenager fatally stabbed in fight at California high school named by family

Suspect, 15, in custody after being found hiding in nearby creek bed

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
,Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 02 March 2023 13:08 GMT
16-year-old fatally stabbed in fight at California high school

A 16-year-old was fatally stabbed during a fight on Wednesday at a northern California high school.

Police were called to Montgomery High School in the city of Santa Rosa on Wednesday morning after a fight broke out between three male students.

Officials said two juniors entered a classroom and confronted a freshman student, who pulled out a knife and stabbed both of them, killing one and injuring the other, CBS News reports, with three teaching aides briefly able to break up the conflict before it erupted again.

“The knife was described as a folding knife with a black handle that had a blade of approximately four to five inches,” Santa Rosa police chief John Cregan said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“One of those students received three stab wounds to his upper body. One student received one stab wound to his left hand.”

Mr Cregan said both students wounded in the attack were alert and conscious when first responders arrived at the school on Hahman Drive at around 11am and took them to hospital.

The teen who sustained the three wounds subsequently died of his injuries and has since been named by his family as Jaden Pienta, according to CBS.

The individuals who fought had been involved in previous altercations, officials said.

The suspect – who police said could not be named because of his age – fled but was later captured without incident after being found hiding in a creek bed following a tip-off from a witness at nearby St Eugene's Cathedral.

He has since been booked into the Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Center on charges of homicide, attempted homicide, possessing a felony weapon on a school campus and misdemeanour battery on a school campus, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

“As numerous officers were responding, the suspect fled the school campus,” the department said in a statement.

“There is no active threat to students or staff on campus. This incident is still under investigation and more will be released soon.”

The name of the other boy injured in the incident has not yet been released.

“This is truly a sad day. The tragedy that happened here today is heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with the students involved, their families, friends, classmates and staff of Montgomery High School,” said Santa Rosa City Schools superintendent Anna Trunnell.

“Right now our focus is on meeting the immediate physical and emotional needs of our students and staff.”

Montgomery High, as well as surrounding schools, cancelled classes and activities on Wednesday, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.

The school has since said it will be closed on Thursday and Friday also.

A memorial comprised of flowers, photographs and personal messages has already been set up at Montgomery High by students to honour their late classmate.

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