One New York City high school student is dead and another in hospital after a classmate reportedly snapped after being continually bullied.
Abel Cedeno, 18, is accused of stabbing Matthew McCree, 15, and Ariane Laboy, 16, at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation on Wednesday, leading to McCree’s death.
Cedeno has been charged with murder and attempted murder, manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
According to reports, Cedeno lashed out with a knife after the two other students harassed and threw pencils at him during class.
He then walked out of the classroom, handed the knife to a counsellor and went to the assistant principal’s office to wait for the police to arrive.
A family friend told ABC Eyewitness News that Cedeno had been subjected to weeks of bullying by the other two students.
As he was escorted out of the school by officers, a journalist asked Cedeno if the victims had been picking on him. He replied, “yes”, before being led away.
A friend, Savannah Hornbeck, told New York Daily News that Cedeno had faced ongoing homophobic slurs at the school and that he often came home in tears.
“The kids were calling him a f—-t, calling him a s–c,” she said. “After it had been reported numerous times and there was no reaction from the school, Abel felt (there was) no other way out.”
Another family friend, Iris Couvertier, who spoke to Abel after his arrest, said: “Those two kids in the class, they hit him. He said that they hit him in the face. He said it’s because he’s gay or bisexual.”
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce claimed, however, that while Cedeno had been bullied in the past, this was the first incident involving the two victims.
“He had problems before at the start of school, but not with these two individuals,” added Boyce. “He said he was being harassed, but that is all he said.”
The Legal Aid Society, which is representing Cedeno, said in a statement: “We are currently meeting with our client and his family and reviewing the facts and circumstances of this case, including the long history of bullying and intimidation Abel has endured.”