Tessa Majors was stabbed to death just a few blocks from Barnard in an armed robbery on Wednesday, according to Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock. On Thursday, the 13-year-old boy who’s believed to be connected to the incident was observed in the lobby of a building near the neighborhood where the stabbing occurred, according to the police source. A CBS2 source says the building was at Manhattan Avenue and 119th Street and the kid was picked up around 4:20 p.m.
The young teen was allegedly wearing clothes that matched the description of clothes associated with the Barnard student stabbing. The kid was picked up on suspicion of criminal trespass and police found a knife on him, said the CNN source. He admitted to the robbery attempt and stabbing and alluded to two other suspects, according to the source on Friday, adding that the investigation is still underway. According to CBS2, the 13-year-old faces robbery, murder and weapons charges. There’s no word yet on the race of the suspect.
Cops say Majors was repeatedly stabbed shortly before 7 p.m. on Wednesday near a set of stairs in Morningside Park. She collapsed at a college security booth after the attack, and the guard on duty immediately phoned 911.
“The public safety officer assigned to 116th Street and Morningside Drive was at his post last night when the victim emerged from the park, and he came to her aid immediately upon recognizing that she was injured,” Columbia University explained in a statement Thursday. “Reports to the contrary are inaccurate. Officers stationed at this location do not make rounds that cause them to leave their post.”
Many students were left shaken by Majors’ death with one first-year student named Julia telling CBS2, “I was devastated. First, like, knowing it was someone on my floor. That was hard enough. Then knowing it was someone I had actually seen and knew.” Julia lived in the same dorm as Majors. Folks who knew Majors growing up in Virginia said she liked journalism and came from a tight-knit family.
Morningside Heights residents were also shaken by the murder, especially since the neighborhood has witnessed violent attacks and robberies before, with nearly two dozen incidents in the park since October 2018, according to CBS2.
“I’m going to be sure to walk my younger kids home after school. I’m not going to meet them. It’s just not worth the risk,” said Morningside Heights resident Kathleen Dames.
Questions are sure to arise on how the police are carrying out the investigation and who they’re targeting as suspects. Considering such horrible incidents as the Central Park 5 (now the Exonerated Five), the investigation should be handled with extreme care and transparency, especially since minors are allegedly involved. According to the East Bay Times, police investigating the incident already took into custody a 16-year-old boy at the nearby Grant Houses public housing project. Cops did not confirm whether the arrest was related to Majors’ death.