In what police suspect might be a gang initiation rite, a 15-year-old boy stabbed a teen-age girl more than a dozen times Wednesday morning at Huntington Park High School. After the attack, authorities said, the assailant calmly boarded the bus he and the girl rode each day to another campus.
The Huntington Park youth, who officials said is known to associate with gang members, confessed to the stabbing late Wednesday afternoon after police took him out of school for questioning, said Huntington Park Police Sgt. Ernie Batterton. The youth was booked for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, Batterton said.
"The one explanation we can find for maybe why he did this is that it might have been a gang initiation rite," said Batterton, who added: "I've been a cop almost 29 years and I've seen this kind of coldness with adults but never with kids."
The girl was expected to survive. Neither youth was identified because of their ages, and also out of fear that the victim or her family might be subject to further violence.
Location of Attack
The attack occurred at approximately 6:45 a.m. near the rear campus classrooms of Huntington Park High School, said officials.
The victim, a 15-year-old Huntington Park girl who was bused to Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga because Huntington Park High is overcrowded, was apparently taking a campus shortcut to the school bus stop when she was attacked by the 10th-grader.
"He wasn't a friend. He just happened to be walking the same way," said Batterton, who said the girl recognized her assailant as a fellow student. "They weren't arguing or anything. They were just talking . . . and for no (apparent) reason he started stabbing at her and apparently left her for dead."
Students discovered the ninth-grader lying semiconcious in a pool of blood next to some outdoor lockers, according to school officials. She was later taken to L.A. County-USC Medical Center, where she was listed late Wednesday in guarded condition.
After the assault, Batterton said, the girl's attacker apparently boarded one of the school buses that transport students 40 miles to Verdugo Hills High School.
Police were searching Wednesday for a small hunting knife with an approximately 3-inch blade. Batterton said the teen-ager told detectives he threw the knife away after the attack. He added that the boy has a minor criminal record that includes possession of alcohol and causing disturbances, but no violence.
At Huntington Park High School, a school district police officer, campus security officials and at least three school administrators and faculty members arrive at 6:30 a.m. to provide security for the 181 students who must make the daily bus trip from the school to the San Fernando Valley, said Marv Gunderson, an assistant principal at the school.