A student was stabbed to death and another critically injured at a school in the Bronx, one at which, according to the New York Post, “less than half of students polled at the school last year — 47 percent — said they felt safe on campus.”
The deceased student was identified as Matthew McCree, 15, who was reportedly stabbed to death Wednesday morning with a switchblade in full view of at least a dozen classmates inside the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation. The school serves students between sixth through 112th grades and shares space with PS 67 on Mohegan Avenue in the East Tremont section of the Bronx.
According to the Post, police believe Abel Cedeno, 18, stabbed McCree and Ariane LaBoy, 16, with the switchblade shortly before 11:00 a.m. EDT.
The news report states witness Jomarlyn Colon, 16, said the incident began when Cedeno was allegedly hit by a pen thrown across a classroom by one of the victims. When he demanded to know who threw the pen at him, McCree said it was accidental, but Cedeno pulled out what police described as a three-inch switchblade.
McCree attempted to hit Cedeno, but the latter “plunged the blade into the young man’s chest,” the Post says Colon reported.
Subsequently, LaBoy challenged Cedeno and was stabbed in the chest by him as well.
“He went crazy,” Colon said about Cedeno. “We were just holding Matthew. When Ariane got stabbed they were holding towels on him. All the kids were crying. Mr. Kennedy tried to hold Abel but he broke free. They didn’t hold him tight enough.”
Another student described the chaotic situation as well.
“We heard screaming from the hallway,” said 10th grader Steven Nunez, who was in another classroom. “The teacher opened the door and people were screaming and running down the hall. Someone came in and said someone got stabbed and there’s blood in the hallway. The teacher locked the door and we were on hard lock-down for almost an hour.”
After the stabbings, Cedeno reportedly walked out of the classroom, handed his switchblade to a school counselor, and then “calmly strolled into an assistant principal’s office and sat in a chair while police were called,” the Post says Police Chief Robert Boyce reported.
McCree was pronounced dead upon arrival at St. Barnabas Hospital, and LaBoy remains in critical condition.
Cedeno was arrested and reportedly told police he and the victims had been engaged in an argument for a couple of weeks.
“They were going back and forth for about two weeks — since school started,” Boyce said. “It escalated today after some back and forth in the classroom.”
In response to the stabbings, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would tighten security at the school and implement scanning Thursday.
The Post notes only five percent of students at the school “are proficient in math and 13 percent in English, according to last year’s state exam results.”
“And less than half of students polled at the school last year — 47 percent — said they felt safe on campus, well below the city average,” the report says.
***This report has been updated***