Teen charged with murder in stabbing at Spring High School that killed 1, injured 3

Spring High School arrest

September 4, 2013 4:57:53 PM PDT
A 17-year-old is dead and three other students were injured in the stabbing at Spring High School shortly after 7am today. Students were released after a tense lockdown lasting until after noon, and classes have been cancelled until Monday.

The violence broke out at the high school on Cypresswood at North Freeway at the beginning of the school day. A confrontation at 7:10am in the cafeteria area led to a fight with cutting instruments. The weapons used are still being investigated and haven't been found, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

A student inside the school at the time told Eyewitness News that everyone first knew something was wrong when nurses were called for over the loud speaker. The teen described the situation as chaotic and says students were 'freaking out.'

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said three persons of interest were taken into custody for questioning. Hours later, officials announced a 17-year-old was the lone suspect in the stabbings. Luis Alonzo Alfaro is charged with murder. The other two taken in for questioning are now considered witnesses to a crime, according to investigators.

All victims and persons of interest were students at Spring ISD. The deceased victim has been identified by friends and family as 17-year-old Joshua Broussard.

Two injured individuals were treated at Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital. One of those victims was treated and released, and the other was said to be stable with minor injuries. His family requested his transfer to another hospital.

A third injured victim who was stabbed in the abdomen was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition, but has since been upgraded to good condition. A representative for the family of the victim says that boy is fighting for his life, and asked for prayers for the teen, and the community.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and the students who have been impacted by this event. We sincerely thank our parents for their patience as we focus on keeping our students safe and protecting the integrity of the ongoing investigation," said Spring ISD Superintendent Ralph H. Draper.

He said grief counselors will be available on campus.

Sheriff Garcia admitted the stabbing could be gang related. The Sheriff's Office and the Spring Independent School District will provide additional security at the campus.

Some parents said the fight was the continuation of a disturbance that broke out Tuesday. Officials at the school, which has about 3,500 students, would not confirm their comments.

"Every parent sends their child to school believing school should be one of those safe haven places," Draper said. "This is what we spend our nights and days working toward and what I lose sleep over. In my nearly 30-year career, this is the one thing you pray never to experience."

Parent Tara Campbell said she received text messages from her daughter about the fight and that her daughter said students who witnessed the episode snapped cellphone photos of the victims as they lay on the ground.

Campbell said she intended to have her daughter home-schooled, saying she's grown tired of fights at the school.

"Last year there were gang fights consistently," she said. "This is ridiculous. This is an ongoing situation."

Lakesia Brent said her son, a sophomore at the school, sent her multiple text messages asking her to come pick him up.

"He's just afraid," she said, adding that fights at the school were a problem in the last academic year.

The school was on lockdown all morning, as the campus was still considered an active crime scene investigation. Students were finally released between 12:15 and 12:30pm. Students exited the back of the building to be picked up at the stadium parking lot. Parents were instructed to get into their vehicles to pick up students.

Many parents were upset that the school district did not provide them information in a timely manner.

Draper defended the district's actions, saying they focused on two goals - securing the school and making sure no action was taken to compromise the investigation - before communicating information to parents about what had happened. He said students were not immediately released because some of them were potential witnesses who needed to be interviewed by investigators.

"When street violence pours into the school, it compromises the safety of all our students," Draper said.

According to Karen Garrison with Spring ISD Media Relations, classes have been cancelled at Spring High School for Thursday and Friday.

The school district has an information phone line for parents to call with questions for the school. It will be available from 10am to 2pm Thursday, Sept. 5 and Friday, Sept. 6. The information phone number is 281-891-6575.

Sheriff Garcia asked members of the public with information about the violence to contact the Sheriff's Office (713-967-5810) or Crime Stoppers of Houston (713-222-8477). Anonymous tips in the form of emails, texts, photos and video can be sent through the free smart phone application iWatchHarrisCounty (more info at iWatchHarrisCounty.com).

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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