Los Banos

13-year-old school stabbing victim recovering

A 13-year-old Los Banos boy who was stabbed earlier this week during a school fire drill is on the mend, authorities said.

Los Banos police Cmdr. Jason Hedden said the teenager was listed in “noncritical” condition Friday. He said the boy is expected to survive and could be released from the hospital in the coming days.

The teenager was stabbed just before 10 a.m. Thursday at Elana Talbott Park during a fire drill at Los Banos Junior High School. Students were moved to the park during the emergency exercise because the usual meeting place was “under repair,” according to Steve Tietjen, superintendent of Los Banos Unified School District.

A 14-year-old classmate was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the incident. Police seized a folding knife they believe to be the weapon used in the attack.

Hedden said Friday he did not want to elaborate on the weapon or any possible motives to protect the ongoing investigation.

Tietjen on Thursday told reporters the motive for the attack appeared to be personal between the boys, possibly involving “money or a girl.”

However, on Friday, Tietjen said he could neither confirm nor deny any possible motives in the attack. Investigators also said it was still too early to comment on possible motives, though they have said they do not believe there are any gang connections in the case.

Tietjen also explained Friday the reason parents and police were not informed that students would be leaving campus during the fire drill .

“Parents had already been notified about the P.E. exercises in the park; that’s why there was not any additional notification,” the superintendent said.

At least one teacher at the school said the drill should have been postponed because there was not enough supervision at the school Thursday to move the entire student body off campus. The teacher spoke on condition of anonymity, not having authorization to speak to the press and fearing retaliation on the job.

Tietjen said all four of the school’s security guards were on campus Thursday, noting that teachers and security guards helped police locate the suspect and ensured that he was taken into custody.

Staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or rparsons@mercedsunstar.com.

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