Eight Las Vegas high school students ages 13 to 17 have been arrested on suspicion of murder in the fatal beating of a 17-year-old classmate, authorities announced Tuesday at a news conference.
Las Vegas police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson said investigators were still working to identify two more students believed to have been involved in the Nov. 1 fight that he said was over a pair of headphones. cordless and a vaporizer.
Johansson said the local FBI office assisted with the arrests Tuesday morning of the eight students. The two prominent students will also face murder charges, she said.
Johansson said the 17-year-old victim, Jonathan Lewis Jr., remained hospitalized with severe “head trauma” and other injuries until his death about a week after the fight. The Las Vegas coroner’s office ruled the beating a homicide.
Las Vegas Undersheriff Andrew Walsh called a video of the attack, which circulated on social media, “extremely disturbing.”
Johansson said it was that video that allowed investigators, with the help of school officials and Clark County School District police, to identify the suspects.
“Many of you, and many people in the community, have seen the violent video that has circulated throughout our community via social media,” Walsh said Wednesday. “And if you, or your child, or anyone you knew, saw that violent video and recognized someone who may have participated in this senseless crime, you should contact us.”
Authorities did not identify the suspects because they are minors. Johansson said he and his team are working with the local district attorney’s office to determine whether they will be charged with murder as adults.
The fight, Johansson said, had been prearranged after the victim’s friend’s headphones and vaporizer were stolen.
Johansson said investigators believe the victim was originally not supposed to be involved in the fight, but had accompanied his friend to a nearby alley, where the fight was scheduled to end after classes ended for the day at Rancho High School in the this one from Las Vegas. .
In the alley, the 10 students “immediately surround him, throw him to the ground and start kicking, hitting and stomping on him,” Johansson said.
After the fight, he said a “citizen” in the area found the victim severely beaten and unconscious in the alley and took him back to campus, where school staff called 911.