CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

8 high school students in Las Vegas arrested on murder charges in fatal beating of classmate

Nov 15, 2023, 6:30 AM | Updated: May 24, 2024, 11:19 am

Eight high school students in Las Vegas between the ages of 13 and 17 were arrested Tuesday on susp...

Eight high school students in Las Vegas between the ages of 13 and 17 were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murder in the fatal beating of a classmate. (Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Eight high school students in Las Vegas between the ages of 13 and 17 have been arrested on suspicion of murder in the fatal beating of a classmate, authorities announced Tuesday at a news conference.

Related: Cornell student accused of threatening to kill Jewish students will remain behind bars

Las Vegas police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson said investigators were still working to identify two more students believed to have participated in the Nov. 1 fight that he said was over a pair of wireless headphones and a vape pen.

Johansson said the local FBI office assisted with the arrests Tuesday morning of the eight students. The two outstanding students will also face murder charges, he said.

Authorities did not identify the students because they are juveniles. Johansson said he and his team are working with the local district attorney’s office to determine if they will be charged with murder as adults.

Johansson said the 17-year-old victim, Jonathan Lewis Jr., remained hospitalized with severe “head trauma” and other injuries until his death about a week after the fight. The coroner’s office in Las Vegas ruled the beating a homicide.

The fight, Johansson said, had been prearranged after the headphones and vape pen were stolen from the victim’s friend.

Johansson said investigators believe that the victim originally wasn’t supposed to be involved in the fight but had accompanied his friend to a nearby alleyway, where the brawl was scheduled to take place after classes ended for the day at Rancho High School in eastern Las Vegas.

After his death, the victim’s father, Jonathan Lewis Sr., said his son was attacked while standing up “for one of his smaller friends,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

In the alley, the 10 students “immediately swarm him, pull him to the ground and begin kicking, punching and stomping on him,” Johansson said.

After the fight, he said a “citizen” in the area found the victim badly beaten and unconscious in the alleyway and carried him back to campus, where school staff called 911.

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8 high school students in Las Vegas arrested on murder charges in fatal beating of classmate