Published October 01, 2011
SOUTH GATE, Calif. – Authorities say a Los Angeles-area high school student fatally stabbed on campus was the 17-year-old girlfriend of the suspect. Sheriff's Deputy Benjamin Grubb said in a statement Saturday that the 18-year-old suspect began arguing during a lunch break at South East High School.
Grubb says the suspect -- identified by school district police as Abraham Lopez -- punched the girl, then pushed her to the ground and stabbed her several times before he was subdued by a campus police officer, a school administrator and another student. They suffered minor injuries.
The girl died at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood Friday night after undergoing surgery. Coroner's officials tell City News Service her name was Cindi Santana.
Detectives say Lopez told them he had placed explosive devices in several places, but a bomb squad found nothing
"The dean tried to intervene and during that the dean realized the male had a knife and was attacking the female student," Los Angeles Unified School District police Chief Steve Zipperman told KABC-TV earlier Friday.
Five people -- the three stabbing victims, the suspect and a campus police officer who hurt his back in the scuffle -- were taken to area hospitals after the attack reported minutes before 11 a.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Matt Levesque said.
After the attack investigators received information that led them to believe the suspect may have also planted explosives in the vehicle of the girl's family, which was parked in a garage at the hospital, Zipperman said.
The hospital was briefly locked down Friday night while a sheriff's bomb squad searched the car and found nothing, Zipperman said. Another team searched the family's home and found nothing, he said.
"This is our bread and butter, the safety and security of our students," Zipperman told KCAL-TV. "It's difficult to understand if somebody gets stabbed, but then when we lose a student as a result of that, let's face it there isn't anything worse."
Lopez was taken to a hospital as a precaution to make sure he wasn't injured during his arrest, school district officials said.
He was being held on suspicion of murder on $1 million bail, according to jail records.
Sheriff's deputies reached by phone did not know if he had hired an attorney.
It wasn't immediately clear what triggered the initial confrontation. A precautionary lockdown was ordered but lifted a few hours later and classes resumed.
Grief counselors were immediately made available to students at the school, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy said.
South East High School has about 3,000 students and is located about 15 miles south of Los Angeles.