A high school student in Alexandria, Virginia, has died after someone stabbed him during a fight involving 30 to 50 people at the Bradlee Shopping Center Tuesday afternoon, police say.
Officers found 18-year-old Luis Mejia Hernandez when they arrived to the McDonald's parking lot at the shopping center to break up the fight about 12:30 p.m., police said.
Medics took Hernandez, a student at Alexandria City High School, to a hospital, where he died a short time later, police said.
The school's principal, Peter Balas, said in a letter to students and parents that Hernandez would "be greatly missed by the Titan community, especially in the International Academy."
"On behalf of the entire Titan staff, I would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to Luis’ family and loved ones. Luis will be deeply missed, and will always and forever be a Titan," Balas said.
The letter also said that all Alexandria City High School students would do virtual learning on Wednesday to allow students the time and space to grieve. Counselors will be available at the schools and for remote appointments. The letter did not mention the fight.
A letter sent Wednesday extended the virtual learning option through the end of the week.
"As I write this letter, there is an ongoing police investigation, which has prompted our decision to offer synchronous (live online) virtual learning at all four Alexandria City High School (ACHS) campuses for the remainder of the week," Balas' letter said.
Police tape blocked off the McDonald's parking lot, where shoes and other items littered the ground after the fight.
Investigators are combing through surveillance video and interviewing witnesses to the fight, police said.
Alexandria City High School put its King Street and Minnie Howard campuses on a "secure the building" status due to the stabbing and school officials said they would stagger afternoon dismissal so that students would leave in smaller groups led by staff.
Police do not have a suspect in custody.
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.
No further information was immediately available about the stabbing.
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.
Stay with News4 for updates to this developing story.