An 18-year-old student of Valley Community School in Los Banos pleaded not guilty Friday to stabbing another student during class because, according to police reports, he didn’t like the way the victim had been looking at him and felt “disrespected.”
Juan Raul Gonzalez reportedly sliced a ninth-grade student's face with a razor blade in a premeditated attack during third period Consular Tech class Jan. 26 at the Merced County school, according to reports filed by Los Banos police investigators.
Gonzalez was arraigned Friday in Merced County Superior Court on felony assault charges.
Surina Gonzalez, a school resource officer at Valley Community School, was called to the class and found the teacher, David Pope, restraining Gonzalez outside the classroom while attempting to separate Gonzalez from the victim, police reports say.
The victim had a large laceration on the left side of his face, while Gonzalez had a laceration on his left index finger, according to reports. Both were taken to local hospitals and for treatment.
Gonzalez was already juvenile probation and has previously been charged with multiple offenses of assault with a deadly weapon, and one charge of murder, according to reports.
According to police reports, Gonzalez admitted to police that he was charged with stabbing an inmate and staff member while incarcerated at a youth correctional facility, which he was released from last year, reports state. He also admitted to being a former gang member, reports say.
Police said in their reports that Gonzalez admitted to investigators he planned to stab the student beforehand.
Gonzalez said he had no issues with the victim but was upset a week prior when he attempted to introduce himself to the victim.
"Gonzales said (the victim) 'muggs' him, which makes him feel disrespected," the reports state. Police have described the term ‘mugg’ essentially as a mean look or glare at another person meant as a sign of disrespect.
Gonzalez told authorities he tried to take a shaving razor blade apart the night before the attack but couldn't manage to get the blade out. He took a razor blade from a container in his grandfather’s garage, wrapped it in medical gauze, put it in his pocket and took it to school the next day, according to the reports.
Just before the attack, Gonzalez said he told two fellow students to back away for their own safety because he was going to "slice" the victim, the reports state.
Gonzalez told police he walked toward the victim, approaching him from behind to get a better "cut" before grabbing his head and beginning to stab him in the face.
Gonzalez said he got three to five strikes in before losing the blade during the fight. He told police he eventually stopped attacking after he heard the officer and his teacher telling him to stop.
"Gonzalez said he doesn't know if he would have stopped if Mr. Pope or Officer Gonzales weren't present," the reports state.
When asked by police if he planned on killing the victim, he responded "No, it was just a warning" because Gonzalez felt disrespected.
Other student witnesses in the classroom corroborated Gonzalez's story, also adding that the victim fought back and "got (Gonzalez) good, right in the jaw," knocking him down, according to reports.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Harold Nutt said the assault charge with enhancements could result in a maximum of seven years in Gonzalez's case. The corporal injury to a child charge is more serious and can result in up to 10 years with enhancements.