How did Raleigh school fatality happen? What do we know about suspect, those stabbed?

The community is still in shock Tuesday after one student was fatally stabbed and another teen was injured Monday morning at Southeast Raleigh High School.

The Raleigh Police investigation and the Wake County school system’s response is still ongoing. But here’s what we know.

How did the stabbing happen?

The Raleigh police officer assigned as the school resource officer at Southeast Raleigh High responded at 11:01 a.m. Monday to a report that a juvenile was stabbed during an altercation involving other students. Video clips posted on social media by multiple students appear to show a fight spilling over from a hallway into the gymnasium, where a knife is visible.

A 15-year-old student and a 16-year-old student received first aid at the scene and were taken to a local hospital. The 15-year-old died, while the 16-year-old remains hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

What do we know about those stabbed?

The names of the two students who were stabbed have not been publicly released.

The family of the student who died told ABC11, The News & Observer’s newsgathering partner, that they are still trying to process what happened and are working through their grief. The family said it plans to hold a balloon release in his memory sometime later this week.

Has anyone been charged?

Raleigh Police obtained a secure custody order for a 14-year-old juvenile suspect. He was charged with murder on a juvenile petition. Due to his age, the suspect’s name has not been released.

Cherelle McLaughlin, the mother of the suspect, says the dispute began when her older daughter had an earlier altercation with a female Southeast Raleigh High student.

McLaughlin says more than a dozen juveniles, including many shown in videos of Monday’s fatal fight, came to her house in Southeast Raleigh roughly a week ago and assaulted both McLaughlin and her mother.

When she brought her son to school Monday, McLaughlin said she told his case worker that he would likely get jumped for defending his sister.

It’s unclear if any other students will face criminal charges or school discipline violations for the incident.

Are police acting for tips and information?

Raleigh Police asked anyone with information or evidence related to this crime to call 919-996-1193.

Police block an entrance at Southeast Raleigh High School during a Code Red lockdown Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. The school is on lockdown after a person was stabbed on campus.
Police block an entrance at Southeast Raleigh High School during a Code Red lockdown Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. The school is on lockdown after a person was stabbed on campus.

How did the student bring a knife?

It’s unclear how the knife got into the school.

Southeast Raleigh High School does not use metal detectors or weapons detectors. It’s not a security approach that’s been adopted by the Wake County school system.

Wake County Superintendent Robert Taylor and school board chair Lindsay Mahaffey issued a joint statement on Monday that the district will continue to review all its safety processes and protocols to determine what happened and what changes may need to be made.

The school board’s safety and security committee is meeting Tuesday. The meeting was scheduled before the fatal stabbing.

When will Southeast Raleigh High reopen?

The school is closed on Tuesday to allow students and staff to process what happened on Monday.

Parents whose children need support Tuesday can call the front office at 919-856-2800. Someone will pick up even though classes are canceled.

Members of the school system’s crisis team and Employee Support and Wellness team will also be available to support students and staff members.

It hasn’t been announced yet when classes will resume at Southeast Raleigh High.

What do we know about Southeast Raleigh High?

Southeast Raleigh High opened in 1997 on Rock Quarry Road.

The school has 1,400 students, drawing both from the surrounding neighborhoods and magnet students from across Wake County.

Southeast Raleigh is a magnet school offering the University Connections: School of Design, Arts & Engineering magnet theme. The theme was revamped in 2017 to try to get more people interested in attending the school.

George Harden brought stability to the school when he became principal in 2020. He became the sixth principal at the school since 2011.

How safe is Southeast Raleigh High?

According to 2021-22 school year data, there were 38 reported crimes at Southeast Raleigh High. There were 23 cases of possession of controlled substances, 13 cases of possession of a weapon and two sexual assaults.

Possession of weapons don’t involve guns, which are in a separate category, but typically involve knives. In the 2021-22 school year, Southeast Raleigh was tied with Wakefield High for third-most cases of possession of a weapon among Wake schools. Only Leesville Road and Rolesville high schools had more.

In the pre-pandemic 2018-19 school year, Southeast Raleigh High had 27 reported crimes. There were 13 cases of possession of controlled substances, eight cases of possession of a weapon, four cases of assaults on school personnel and two cases of possession of alcohol.

Reported crime is up 16.9% above pre-pandemic levels in North Carolina public schools.