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Boy in custody after stabbing student at SMHS

Officials say incident was unprovoked

Feb. 4, 2009

A freshman at South Milwaukee High School was stabbed by a junior at 7:15 a.m. Thursday in an incident that appeared completely unprovoked, officials said.

"I never expected something like this to happen here," said senior Mary Estrada, 17.

The two male students were conversing quietly at a common area table when the junior, 17, suddenly pulled out a wood-handled kitchen knife and plunged its 8-inch blade into the freshman's back, officials said at press conference Thursday.

The victim, 15, walked into the hall and told a teacher what had just happened, said Superintendent David Ewald.

The suspect dropped the knife and fled to his home, where Lt. Cary Fischer of the South Milwaukee Police Department said the student was apprehended without incident. He remained in police custody as of late Thursday morning. No motive has been determined.

The district attorney's office is expected to review the case Friday to determine whether charges should be filed.

The victim was taken by ambulance to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and remained alert and conscious. Officials said the victim is in good condition.

The high school's two police liaisons were on the scene shortly after it occurred.

"The student involved has no record with us," Ewald said, indicating that there were no signs of trouble.

As of Thursday morning, neither student had been interviewed by the district to determine why the incident occurred.

Ewald said the district issues disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis, but said he anticipates looking at expulsion or suspension for the student involved.

The junior suspected in the stabbing is new to the district, Ewald said. The freshman victim is a member of the swim team. No other information about the two students has been released, though their parents have been notified.

Immediately after the incident, both the high school and middle school were placed under a lockdown for more than an hour until students were allowed back to class at 8:27 a.m. The high school had practiced a lockdown drill on Wednesday.

Sophomore Maritza Silva, 15, said the lockdown experience was a little scary.

Since the incident occurred before the school day began, the process was a little chaotic, but students found secure locations in the field house and other classrooms. One student said they watched the news as they waited to be released.

Parents were kept notified of the morning's activities on the district's Web site, which was continually updated.

"Parents knew that their kids were not in jeopardy," Ewald said.

In an announcement to students just before 9 a.m., Principal Gary Kiltz said declared the school as a "safe environment" again, and classes resumed.

Parents may pick up students for the day, but should first call the school office at (414) 766-5100. Counseling services will be available to students all day.

Ewald estimated about 100 of the school's 1,300 students opted to leave the high school as of mid-morning.

No extracurricular activities have been canceled as a result of the incident.

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