In what appears to be a random attack, a man has been charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old girl at a high school in Stockton, California.
A trespasser, initially reported as a male in his 40s, entered Stagg High School on Monday and stabbed the student many times, killing her.
Responders began life-saving measures right after, but she was pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to Stockton police.
At a press conference on Monday, Stockton Unified School District Superintendent John Ramirez Jr. announced that a trespasser entered the front of the school today and stabbed one of our students many times.
“She did not make it, unfortunately. The attacker was apprehended, seized, and taken into custody right away.”
He went on to say, “The school was also put on lockdown to ensure the safety of the rest of our pupils.” “We immediately began working with local law enforcement, and they have taken over the investigation.”
According to officials, the assailant surrendered to campus police without incident.
Late Monday, police said Anthony Gray, 52, was detained in connection with the stabbing and put into the San Joaquin County Jail on murder charges.
The Stockton Police Department reported on Facebook that “detectives believe this looks to be a random crime and are trying to establish why this youngster was targeted.”
During his initial court appearance on Wednesday, Gray was arraigned on murder charges, along with a specific enhancement of “murder by torture.”
Following the meeting, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar urged lawmakers to enable stabbing crimes to get the same sentencing enhancements as gunshot cases.
Punishments for crimes involving a firearm could be increased by up to 25 years, whereas sentences for crimes involving a knife can only be increased by one year.
Salazar also advocated for the passage of legislation that would allow for specific enhancements for crimes committed on school grounds.
Salazar stated in a statement, “As a mother, this seemingly random act of violence is distressing.” “Our children must be protected because they are our future. We must lobby our legislators to enact legislation that strengthens the penalty for crimes committed on school grounds.”
Gray is due back in court on May 16 for a second arraignment. Officials said Monday that they didn’t know why the man attacked, but that he wasn’t a parent.
Ramirez complimented the school resource officer for moving promptly to detain the offender, saying it helped to stop the stabbing.
“There was staff there right away when the situation happened,” he claimed. “It happened so fast that they couldn’t stop it, but they were there right away.”