Two facing charges in Morgantown High stabbing
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two high school students are facing charges after a stabbing incident at Morgantown High School, and a star athlete received praise for his role in helping to end the situation.
The high school was locked down Wednesday morning. Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said officers are looking into what caused the altercation.
Preston was aware of claims that bullying was involved.
"If there were any incidents of (bullying) happening they'll be addressed," Preston said. "This was not a random act of violence. It was contained to these two individuals."
Witnesses told city police that a 17-year-old boy attacked a 14-year-old boy just after 7 a.m. in a hallway at Morgantown High. The younger boy then pulled a knife and stabbed the older boy multiple times in the arms and chest, according to a statement from police.
The 17-year-old was able to get away and was assisted by city Patrolman First Class W.H. Bender, the school resource officer. Bender performed first aid on the boy until paramedics arrived, Preston said. The police chief was not at the school when the incident occurred.
Sources inside the school told the Daily Mail that Chazzy Thomas, the Mohigans' star running back and a leading candidate for the Kennedy Award, tackled the 14-year-old boy and dragged him to the school office to await police.
Students also were posting praise for Thomas on Twitter.
Preston said, to his knowledge, that wasn't how the incident played out. He said the 14-year-old boy walked away from the scene but was then confronted by an "older, well-respected student athlete," who told him to go to the office. He would not release the student-athlete's name.
"His words were, 'You know you're going to get in trouble. You need to go to the office,'<!p><#148> Preston said. "There was no struggle or any incident with the 14-year-old. He was very complacent with the orders he was given at that time."
The student-athlete was not involved in the stabbing in any way and the younger boy did not struggle with him, Preston said.
"That's extremely mature for a high school kid," Preston said of the student-athlete's actions.
Morgantown Coach John Bowers said Wednesday morning that the school wasn't ready then to make a statement due to confidentiality issues regarding minors.
"We did have an incident, but Mr. DeSantis hasn't even talked to Chazzy yet," Bowers said. Robert DeSantis is the school's principal.
Students and one of Thomas' former teammates spoke out on Twitter about Thomas' role in the incident.
"Apparently Chazz stopped the kid that stabbed the other kid. Leggo Chaz," Morgantown High student Adam Shaw tweeted.
"True tweet," Thomas replied via Twitter.
Former Morgantown wide receiver Blaine Stewart, son of the late West Virginia University football coach Bill Stewart, applauded his former teammate's actions on Twitter.
"Every good thing Chazzy Thomas has ever done on the field is nothing compared to today. Damn I'm proud to call him a friend," Stewart tweeted.
The school was placed on lockdown while police and paramedics worked at the scene. The 14-year-old boy was taken into custody. Authorities confiscated a folding pocketknife with a 2-inch blade that they believe was used in the incident.
He was charged with unlawful assault and possession of a weapon on school grounds. He was released to his parents after a detention hearing. A trial date on the matter will be set within the next 30 days.
The 17-year-old boy was treated for stab wounds and cuts at Ruby Memorial Hospital. Preston said the initial concern was blood loss, and that even though the boy received several stitches, there were no life threatening injuries. He expected the boy to be released Wednesday afternoon.
Officers also filed a juvenile referral against the older boy charging him with battery.
"We know what happened this morning, now it's a backwards investigation," Preston said. "Who knew? Who knew this was going on and didn't report it. There are a lot of half-truths and quarter-truths out there.
"We'll deal with the facts and if there's things that the board of education need to deal with we'll bring it to their attention."
This wasn't the first time a student brought a weapon onto Morgantown High School property. Last year, a student brought an unloaded stolen handgun to school but was caught after another student told the school resource officer about it. Preston said the two incidents were unrelated.
The investigation is ongoing.