Police arrested a 16-year-old boy in connection with the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old Alexandria City High School senior last week.
The suspect, who is also a student at Alexandria City High, was charged with murder and is being held in the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center.
Luis Mejia Hernandez, who was about to graduate, died after being stabbed in the chest during a fight involving 30 to 50 people at the Bradlee Shopping Center.
Officers found the victim when they arrived at the McDonald's parking lot at the shopping center to break up the fight about 12:30 p.m. May 24, police said.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
Medics took Hernandez to a hospital, where he died a short time later, police said.
“It’s so painful because what we’re doing now should be preparing for him to get his diploma, and now we’re getting ready to say goodbye, practically,” his father, Osmin Mejia, told Telemundo 44 Tuesday.
Police tape blocked off the McDonald's parking lot, where shoes and other items littered the ground after the fight.
Investigators are combed through surveillance video and interviewed witnesses to the fight, police said.
The shopping center on King Street is a popular lunch spot for students from the high school.
Last September, a teen was shot near the same McDonald's.
Alexandria City High School Continues Virtual Learning
Alexandria City High School announced Monday that it would carry out a “modified return” and only some students should come to its four campuses this week. That includes students who need to complete testing or graduation requirements.
Only these students are expected to report to school, per officials:
- Seniors who need to complete graduation requirements.
- Seniors who must participate in graduation rehearsal (June 3).
- Students who must fulfill SOL or other required testing.
- Students in ACHS city-wide specialized instructional program.
All students were on virtual learning after the stabbing through the end of last week.
"We want to again assure you that new security measures have been implemented and remain in place at ACHS, and we have shared multiple communications with ACHS students and families, including the latest information from Executive Principal Peter Balas on logistics for this week for the Class of 2022 as well as students in grades 9-11," the superintendent wrote in a letter to staff and families Wednesday.
Resources for Alexandria City High School Students
Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. said schools will offer counselors to students. English and Spanish language plus interpretation services are available.
Counselors can be reached by email, Canvas or by calling 703-824-6800.
Students can also turn to crisis lines by texting CONNECT to 85511 or calling CrisisLink at 703-527-4077, ACHS executive principal Peter Balas said.
The National Association of School Psychologists has tips on addressing grief.
Hutchings also encouraged parents to monitor their teens' social media use, as disturbing videos of the violence may be circulating online.
"Encourage them not to view the video or share it with others," he said.