Student Stabs Classmates at NYC School, Kills 15-Year-Old Boy

One source familiar with the investigation tells News 4 the suspect may have been bullied

What to Know

  • Abel Cedeno, 18, was charged with murder, manslaughter and assault in the stabbing that left a classmate dead and another one wounded.
  • Matthew McCree, 15, was killed in the stabbing at Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation; Ariane Laboy, 16, was wounded.
  • The alleged stabber had been feuding with the victims since the start of the school year, and the fight boiled over in class, cops say

UPDATE: Accused NYC School Killer Just Snapped, Police Say

A New York City high schooler who told reporters he'd been picked on stabbed and killed one of his classmates and wounded another during a class Wednesday, police said. 

Eighteen-year-old Abel Cedeno was charged with murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and assault and other crimes in the stabbing that left Matthew McCree, 15, dead and Ariane Laboy, 16, critically injured, according to police.

Authorities say Cedeno walked into a third-period history class at Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation -- a middle and high school that also houses an elementary school -- and stabbed McCree and Laboy with a switchblade as about 15 to 20 other students watched in horror. 

Afterward, the 18-year-old allegedly went into the hallway, handed the bloodied three-inch blade to a counselor and walked to the the assistant principal's office, where he sat quietly until police arrived.

The suspect had been feuding with the victims since the beginning of the school year, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at an afternoon news conference. They had been tossing paper at one another shortly before the stabbing, authorities said.

"There were arguments going on for two weeks, into the school year, and it escalated today after some back and forth within the classroom," Boyce said.

As he was walked out of a Bronx police precinct Wednesday night, Cedeno replied "yes" when reporters asked if he'd been picked on before the stabbing.

Attorney information for the boy wasn't immediately available, but a family member at the precinct described Cedeno as a "very excellent, good kid." A friend said that Cedeno was being bullied and had had enough.

The two students were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where McCree, 15, died from a stab wound to the chest; Laboy, 16, is in stable condition with chest wounds.

Other students described tense moments huddled in closets and in classrooms while the school was locked down, wondering what was happening.

"The guidance counselor couldn't even keep herself calm," said eighth-grader Abbie Mincey, who added that the counselor told them, "I've never seen so much blood in my life."

It's the first homicide on New York City school grounds since 2014, when a fight between two 14-year-old boys ended with one stabbed to death outside Intermediate School 117 in the Bronx. The last time someone was killed inside a school was at least 20 years ago.

"It's unacceptable to ever lose a child to violence in a school building," said Mayor de Blasio, adding that the city will redouble its efforts to increase safety there.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina added, "Every parent has the right to expect that when they send their children to school in the morning, they'll come back at 3 o'clock in very good shape. Today, unfortunately, some families will not be feeling this security."

She said extra grief counselors and guidance counselors will be on hand at the school Thursday. De Blasio will also be on hand to greet and reassure students during drop off. 

"This will be a school that we'll be supporting as closely as many different ways as possible," she said. 

There are 1,100 students who attend the schools in the building; P.S. 67, which has grades pre-K through five, is on the second floor. The school does not have metal detectors. 

Chief Joanne Jaffe, head of NYPD's community affairs, said about 75 schools around the district are equipped with metal detectors, and they would do random sweeps of all schools for the time being.

Dozens of students' family members crowded outside the school after news of the stabbing broke, with many asking police and administrators for answers as students threw paper airplanes out windows to let their families know they were safe. 

"I'm very upset. No one wants to send a child to school to be in danger," said Rosalyn Valoy, who picked up her fourth-grade daughter about four hours after the stabbing.

Giselle Estevez, the mother of 9- and 13-year-old girls, said she'd seen violence at the school before and this latest attack was the final straw. She plans to pull her daughters out of school.

"There is too much fighting, too many older boys," she said in Spanish. "Look at my child, she is small, 9 years, and the other 13. ... And they're crying, wondering what is going on, and the school didn't even call me."

- Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst contributed to this report. 

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