Detroit Free Press
Published 8:27 PM EDT Sep 12, 2018
WARREN, Mich. – They were straight-A students and onetime friends, police said, but a dispute involving a boy may have led one girl to stab another girl to death in a Warren classroom Wednesday.
A 16-year-old Warren girl died Wednesday morning, less than an hour after she was stabbed twice in the chest with a kitchen-style steak knife at Fitzgerald High School, Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said. He said a teacher and 20 to 30 other students were in the classroom when the stabbing occurred.
"I froze. I didn't know what to do. I just saw one of my friends just dying," Victoria Oraczko, 16, of Warren told the Free Press.
She said she was in the classroom where the stabbing occurred and that her backpack was covered in blood.
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The suspect, a 17-year-old Warren girl, was taken into custody without incident, Dwyer said, and a homicide charge will be sought. Charges could come as early as Thursday from the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office.
Dwyer declined to release the names of the victim, the suspect or the school resource officer who began CPR on the victim after hearing screams about 8:30 a.m.
Dwyer said the victim died about 9:25 a.m. at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Madison Heights. She was, at one point, friends with the suspect, he said. He said they were both seniors at the school.
He said police were told the victim was involved in school activities, including cross country, robotics, color guard, marching band, student council and Generation of Promise.
"It's truly a tragedy. Two lives are ruined," Dwyer said, adding the the girls were good students who had not been in trouble before. "This is truly a tragedy on both sides."
Dwyer said the suspect was upset with the victim because she thought the victim was telling the suspect's 17-year-old boyfriend that the suspect was cheating on him.
Dwyer said there were texts between the suspect and her boyfriend, but he declined to comment further on them. He said police received information later Wednesday that the suspect and boyfriend drove to school together to resolve their differences Wednesday morning.
He said the male student is cooperating with police. He said the suspect made an admission, but he would not release further details.
Dwyer said a knife, which had been brought to school in a backpack, was recovered.
The high school closed early Wednesday after being on lock-down and will be closed Thursday.
No one could be immediately reached at the high school office or at the district superintendent’s office.
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According to an announcement on the Fitzgerald Public Schools’ website from Superintendent Laurie Fournier, psychologists and counselors will be available for staff and students at the school. School officials are also working with police, and reviewing safety procedures and protocol, according to the statement.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the student’s family and we offer our deepest sympathy," Fournier said in the statement.
Lisa Crabtree of Warren was waiting outside the high school Wednesday morning for her daughter, Abygail, 13, to be released from class. Crabtree said her daughter relayed to her that police were escorting students out class by class.
"She's scared to death in there," Crabtree said of her daughter, a freshman.
Oraczko said she was at the teacher's desk trying to get her homework after being absent Tuesday when the stabbing occurred. She said she got pushed from behind and heard someone screaming, "She's gonna kill me! She's gonna kill me!"
Oraczko said she thought someone was playing around, but then she saw the suspect with a knife, the victim fall on the floor and a "pool of blood starts to form." She said the suspect got dragged away by the teacher, and she said she saw the victim getting CPR.
Dwyer said his department couldn't recall a slaying in a high school in years.
He said security at the school is "the best we can do." Dwyer, who is also an Oakland County Commissioner, said he -- in general -- has advocated for making funding available to schools for metal detectors, like those at airports, and other security measures.
He said at this point there will not be extra security at the school when it reopens, in part because this wasn't a random act.
Crabtree said the school doesn't have metal detectors, but maybe she would like them to be there. She described the situation Wednesday as "horrible."
"I don't know what to think ... It makes me wanna home school," Crabtree said, but added that she wants her daughter to have a good education and that the school has good teachers.
Follow Christina Hall on Twitter: @challreporter