By Olivia Anderson | [email protected]
A teenager from Alexandria City High School died from a stabbing wound suffered during a fight on Tuesday afternoon outside the Bradlee Shopping Center McDonald’s, according to a news release.
Alexandria police received a call for service at approximately 12:26 for a large group fight at 3536 King Street, where one male was critically injured and taken to the hospital where he later died.
ACPS Principal Peter Balas told community members in a statement Tuesday evening that the student killed was senior Luis Mejia Hernandez.
“On behalf of the entire Titan staff, I would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to Luis’ family and loved ones. Luis will be deeply missed, and will always and forever be a Titan,” Balas said.
ACPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, Ed.D. also issued a statement following the killing of Hernandez.
“Today was a tragic day for our school community,” Hutchings said. “We are mourning the loss of one of our Class of 2022 Titans today. We are hearing about the deep grief that people in our community are experiencing and we want to give people time to deal with this traumatic loss and cope with what this means for our school community.”
ACPS opted to transition to virtual learning on Wednesday to allow the school community time to process what happened on Tuesday.
“Following today’s tragedy, many are experiencing mental health challenges and disbelief as we have been anticipating the end of the school year. … We believe that transitioning to virtual learning for our high school students will allow our school community the time and space to grieve and process this loss, and we will have support team members from the schools, Department of Student Services & Equity and the City’s Department of Community and Human Services available on site for anyone who needs that support,” Hutchings said.
The King Street and Minnie Howard campuses were placed on “secure building” status until 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, meaning that the school day continued on a regular schedule, but no one was allowed to enter or leave the building for a period of time.
Students were eventually dismissed in small, staggered groups and all after-school activities were canceled.
“This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution for the safety and security of our students and staff,” an ACPS email read.
A video of the incident is circulating on social media. It depicts a large crowd of students fighting, chaos in the parking lot of Bradlee shopping center and a student on the ground suffering from a stab wound to his leg who stands up before collapsing back to the ground. Hutchings also addressed the existence of this video in his statement.
“Additionally, there is a disturbing video related to this loss that is being circulated on social media,” Hutchings said. “Please monitor your children’s use of social media and encourage them not to view the video or share it with others.”
The investigation is still active, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact Alexandria Police Department Detective Christine Escobar at 703-746-6819 or [email protected].