The arrest of a 17-year-old boy in the wake of a fatal multi-student stabbing at a high school in Texas, again puts the issue of juvenile offenders in the spotlight.
Three students were treated in a hospital and one was killed when a knife fight broke out inside the cafeteria of Spring High School in Houston.
Luis Alonzo Alfaro, 17, has been charged with murder, the Daily News reported. He is being held on $150,000 bond. The Daily News reported he confessed to the stabbing while being interviewed by homicide investigators, officials from the the Harris County Sheriff’s Office stated.
The victims included 17-year-old Joshua Broussard, who died at the scene. Fellow student Randall Moore, 17, was also hurt, as well as two 16-year-old boys.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said Moore was initially flown to a local hospital in critical condition, but has since been listed as being in a good condition. The other two victims suffered minor injuries, he said. In total, three suspects were taken into custody. Two of them are now considered witnesses to the crime, said the Sheriff.
It’s not clear what cause this extreme violence at a Houston school. The Houston Chronicle reported gang rivalry appears to have been behind the stabbing.
“Deputies have now confirmed that gang rivalry appears to be the motive in the case. No other details about the gang rivalry was released,” reported the Chronicle.
When the criminal justice system deals with juvenile offenders, factors such as the background of the offender can be more relevant than in adult offenders.
A 2002 study by the Criminal Justice Policy Council compiled for the State of Texas found many juvenile offenders came from troubled backgrounds.
It said “49 percent of juveniles were suspected or involved with a gang, had a family member with a history of criminal activity or incarceration, and / or a household member with a history of gang activity.”
The study looked at more than 1,500 juvenile records. Only 12 percent of the juveniles who were studied had no problems in their backgrounds.