Ramsey County prosecutors have charged a 16-year-old boy with second-degree murder for allegedly fatally stabbing a fellow student during a fight Friday at St. Paul’s Harding High School.
The teen was charged Tuesday by juvenile petition. The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office said it’s seeking to have him tried as an adult. The teen is due to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.
MPR News is not naming the suspect while the case remains in juvenile court. He’s accused of fatally stabbing 15-year-old Devin Scott in a school hallway. Court documents say it was Devin’s first day at Harding High School.
Separately, St. Paul’s school superintendent said Tuesday that district, police and city leaders are working to craft a new approach to schools and policing in the wake of the killing at Harding High.
The district removed police from its buildings following George Floyd’s murder in May 2020 and has since hired school support liaisons to provide security. They do not carry guns, but do have handcuffs and pepper spray. Harding has added a third full-time support liaison.
School district and city leaders agreed to have two St. Paul police officers assigned to Harding, Central, Como, and Humboldt high schools and Washington Technology Magnet School this week.
Superintendent Joe Gothard told reporters Tuesday said he was ready for a conversation “to see if we can redefine what a formal partnership looks like with the St. Paul Public Schools” and the police.
Axel Henry, the city’s police chief, echoed that sentiment. “The old model” of school resource officers “was a different environment,” Henry told reporters. “We’re going to build a future model of policing” and until then “we stand ready to help 24-7 as long as the school district needs it.”
Charges: Argument led to stabbing
Charging documents released Tuesday say that witnesses, including an assistant principal, saw the suspect, the victim, and a third student starting to argue and then fight in a hallway just before noon Friday.
The suspect had been a student at Harding since the start of the school year; the victim had started attending Harding that day; and the third student had been attending the school for about a week.
The assistant principal told investigators he could not hear what the argument was about. Another staff member reported seeing the suspect on the ground, with the victim and the third student on top of him throwing punches.
After staff members separated the students, the suspect allegedly produced a folding knife and stabbed Devin twice, in the chest and stomach. Witnesses said Devin then ran toward the nurse’s office before collapsing. He was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital.
Security staff eventually detained the suspect, and said the teen stated “they jumped me—they jumped me.”
The incident was caught on “multiple surveillance cameras,” the court documents state. The cameras show Devin was walking backward and that his hands were empty when he was stabbed.
Classes at Harding High School were canceled Monday and Tuesday, and are set to resume on Wednesday.