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Teen Stabbed at Middle School; Suspect Held

May 03, 1996|HENRY CHU and JULIE TAMAKI | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

VAN NUYS — An eighth-grade student at Mulholland Middle School in Van Nuys was attacked before class Thursday by a knife-wielding fellow student who was on suspension for a similar attack earlier in the week, authorities said.

The injured boy, 13, who suffered a 6-inch gash that narrowly missed his jugular vein, was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where he remained in stable condition Thursday afternoon, said Richard Page, an assistant chief with Los Angeles Unified School District police.

"It was pretty severe," Page said of the boy's wound. "If it had been a quarter-inch lower, it would've hit his jugular vein."

Two coaches and a student chased down the alleged assailant and turned him over to Los Angeles police in Van Nuys, where he was held on suspicion of attempted murder. Police recovered two steak knives at the scene, including one with a serrated blade they say was used in the attack.

Page described the arrested youth as a troubled teenager who has "lost touch" with reality.

"He needs some real mental-health counseling. He's either hearing voices" or suffers from some other kind of delusion, Page said.

The 14-year-old youth had been arrested, remanded back to his parents' custody and placed on a five-day suspension, pending an expulsion hearing, Wednesday after he allegedly attacked another boy Tuesday afternoon, cutting him across the hand, said Mulholland Principal Alfredo Tarin.

Tarin said the alleged assailant came back to school Thursday morning although officials had ordered him not to return. The attack occurred shortly after 7:30 a.m. near some campus basketball courts, in full view of teachers on supervision and students arriving for the day, Tarin said.

Although the two youths, who both live in Reseda, knew each other from classes together last year, there was no evidence the arrested youth deliberately sought out the boy who was injured, Tarin said.

"It wasn't like he came looking for the particular youngster that he injured," Tarin said. "I think he was angry because of the suspension."

The two teachers and student caught the 14-year-old within a few seconds, Tarin said.

Before the two attacks this week, the youth had not exhibited violent tendencies, Tarin said. "We were very surprised."

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