[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
A 16-year-old boy was murdered during a fight at a California high school this week. Now, his family is left to mourn his loss.
On Wednesday morning, a fight broke out inside a classroom at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, California. Two teenagers were stabbed in the incident, and the assailant fled. One of the wounded teens, who was later identified by family members as Jayden Jess Pienta, died later at a local hospital.
According to KPIX, the fight began at around 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday when two 16-year-old juniors walked into an art class and confronted a 15-year-old freshman. At first, a teacher and several aids were able to break up the fight. However, the outlet reports the students somehow began fighting again. During the second brawl, the freshman allegedly “brandished a knife” and stabbed the other two teens involved. Cops claimed the knife blade was “between four to five inches long,” per KPIX.
Santa Rosa Police Chief John Cregan spoke to the media about the incident hours after it occurred. He noted there were “some previous altercations between these students” in the weeks leading up to the fight. He added:
“One of those students received what appeared to be three stab wounds to his upper body. One student received one stab wound to his left hand.”
Witnesses inside the classroom called 911. Cregan said officers were on scene “four minutes after receiving the call,” and began life-saving efforts on the teen later identified as Pienta. At first, both students who were stabbed were conscious and able to provide statements to cops. Sadly, after Pienta was rushed to the hospital, he died. Per ABC 7 News Bay Area, the second teen is expected to survive his injuries.
Cops immediately went looking for the 15-year-old. He fled from campus after the fight, but officers later found him “in a nearby creek bed,” according to Cregan. He has been arrested and booked into Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Center. Cops are not releasing his name because of his age. However, they did confirm he was charged with three felonies — homicide, attempted homicide, and possessing a weapon on a school campus — and one misdemeanor count of battery.
Following Pienta’s death, a makeshift memorial has been growing over the last 48 hours outside Montgomery High School. The teen’s family has come forward to speak about the tragedy, too. His grandmother Cheryl Griffin told the media:
“He was a good boy, he was a quiet, gentle boy. He didn’t harm anybody. This is so out of character for something like this to happen to him. I don’t understand.”
Another woman, who was identified only as Pienta’s aunt, added:
“He was a great kid. He minded his own business, he did good in school. He was one of the sweetest, most lovable, kindest, cutest, just so bashful and compassionate. He didn’t deserve any of this, nobody saw this coming. [It is] an absolute tragedy and a loss.”
Here is more on the awful incident:
So sad. Just 16 years old — it’s absolutely heartbreaking.
We send our condolences to Pienta’s family during this impossibly terrible time.
[Image via ABC 7 News Bay Area/YouTube]