New York police have arrested a 13-year-old boy in the stabbing death of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors at a park just one block from Columbia University.
Majors, 18, was stabbed repeatedly during a struggle with as many as three assailants at Morningside Park around 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The boy was arrested on charges including felony murder, City Corporation Counsel James E. Johnson said in a statement. The teen appeared Friday in family court and is being held in a juvenile detention facility. He is due back in court Tuesday.
He will be tried as a juvenile delinquent in family court. He and the other attackers are all believed to attend a middle school near the park.
“During the struggle, one of the individuals pulled out a knife and stabbed her several times,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said. “She staggered her way up the street. One of the security guards saw her and called 911.”
Harrison said on Twitter that one arrest had been made in the killing and “this remains an active investigation.”
Majors, from Charlottesville, Virginia, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The arrest of the teenage suspect was reported by several news outlets citing law enforcement officials.
According to CNN, quoting a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation, the suspect admitted to the stabbing and attempted robbery and alluded to two other suspects. The report said the teenager was picked up after he was spotted wearing clothing matching the description of the assailant.
The killing stunned the Columbia university community. Barnard, which Majors attended, is a liberal arts all-women college that is part of Columbia.
“With broken hearts, we share tragic news about the death of one of our students,” Barnard President Sian Leah Beilock said late Wednesday in a letter to the campus. “This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core.”
Harrison described the assault as “a despicable crime.” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea acknowledged there has been a recent surge of robberies perpetrated by juveniles at Morningside Park, which has long had a reputation as dangerous.
The victim’s father, Inman Majors, is the author of six novels and an English professor at James Madison University.
“We lost a very special, very talented, and very well-loved young woman,” the family said in a statement. “Tess shone bright in this world, and our hearts will never be the same.”
Several photos in Majors’ Instagram page show her playing guitar and singing in a band called Patient 0, which in September released a nine-song album called “Girl Problems.’’ She listed Courtney Love, Courtney Barnett and Kim Gordon among her musical inspirations.
Contributing: Associated Press