While movie patrons watched an R-rated horror film Saturday evening, an 11-year-old boy fatally stabbed a boy his own age in the theater lobby, police said.
Police were searching Sunday for the fifth-grade suspect. Authorities said they knew the boy’s name but would not disclose his identity because he is a juvenile.
The victim, Nestor Herrara, had gone with friends to see the movie “Valentine.” The suspect was attending the same film with a separate group of acquaintances. It was not clear whether either boy was accompanied to the film by an adult.
The two boys were arguing in the theater’s video arcade when the assailant pulled out a knife, Hampden County Dist. Atty. William Bennett said at a news conference Sunday in this western Massachusetts city.
Springfield Police Lt. William Noonan said the boy then fled into an adjacent shopping mall.
At least six other people were in the theater lobby at the time of the stabbing.
Herrara was stabbed at least once in the upper left chest, Bennett said. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital about an hour after the 6 p.m. stabbing.
Police said they were not sure what caused the boys to argue.
While the fracas in the lobby transpired, attendants did not stop the 5:30 p.m. showing of “Valentine.” The film boasts a violent theme, revolving around a man who seeks brutal revenge as an adult after being taunted in sixth grade at a Valentine’s Day dance.
A teenager who attended the 5:30 showing told Springfield’s Sunday Republican newspaper that she saw the suspect and his friends running in and out of the theater, “acting obnoxious.”
The teenager, who did not give her name to the newspaper, said that two of the boy’s companions ran into the theater and yelled, “Everyone get out. My cousin just stabbed someone.”
Police said Herrara and his alleged assailant did not attend the same school but knew each other.