Fatal school stabbing tied to love triangle
Warren — The fifth full day of classes of the new school year at Warren Fitzgerald High School was marked by tragedy Wednesday after a 16-year-old straight-A student was fatally stabbed during her second-period economics class in what police are calling a love triangle.
A 17-year-old girl — also a straight-A student — is in police custody and is expected to face murder charges after she allegedly used a kitchen-style steak knife to stab her classmate twice in the chest over a male student.
Police did not release the victim's identity, but the school district identified her as Danyna Gibson. The National Honor Society student was on the school's cross country team, student council, robotics club, color guard and marching band.
The incident happened about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the high school on Ryan Road at Nine Mile.
The suspect was arrested without incident, Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said. Gibson died during surgery at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Madison Heights.
“This is truly a tragedy on both sides,” he said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victim and the suspect.”
Dwyer said investigators are looking through text messages exchanged between the suspect and the boy believed to be involved with the girls. The most recent texts were sent Tuesday, Dwyer said, but he declined to go into further detail.
“We don’t have all the facts yet, but we have enough information on what happened,” he said.
Dwyer said it appears the suspect walked up to the victim and stabbed her.
“It happened very quickly,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer said both the suspect and the victim had a relationship with the male classmate. Both were Warren residents and knew each other, he said.
Eleventh-grader Francesca Pascua, 17, said she was in the classroom where the stabbing happened Wednesday morning. She said it was her second-hour economics class.
Pascua said she didn’t know what was going on at first.
“I heard screaming, and I thought everyone was running from a bug or something,” she said. “I turned around and saw a girl stab another girl.”
Pascua fled from the area because “I thought she was going to stab everybody.”
She said the incident occurred at the front of the classroom.
“There was blood everywhere (Gibson) ran,” Pascua said.
She said the teacher tried to push the attacker away from the victim without getting injured. One of the students in the classroom called 911, she added.
“I saw a knife,” Pascua said. “It went in, and it went out.”
Pascua described the knife as like “the ones people use at home, but the big ones.” She estimated it was at least seven inches long with a non-serrated blade.
Dwyer said the school resource officer at Fitzgerald heard screaming coming from a classroom and responded immediately. He performed CPR on the victim until medics arrived.
The chief said police were going to ask the prosecutor to level murder charges against the 17-year-old girl.
"I want to give credit to the school resource officer who administered CPR," Dwyer said. "He's devastated about this."
The school released a statement saying: "We are deeply saddened to share that the Fitzgerald High School student who was stabbed this morning passed away at the hospital. Our hearts and prayers go out to the student’s family and we offer our deepest sympathy."
The district released students at 10 a.m. Wednesday and said that Fitzgerald would be closed Thursday. The district's middle school and elementary schools will remain open.
The high school has deployed additional counselors, psychologists and social workers for students and staff.
"We know that losing a fellow student is difficult, and we encourage you to reach out if you need support," Superintendent Laurie Fournier said in a statement.
"... Our Fitzgerald Community is #FitzNation strong, and it’s important that we come together and support each other. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Danyna’s family, friends and classmates during this difficult time."
The school plans to hold a vigil at 1 p.m. Thursday at the football field.
Fitzgerald High School freshman Evan Lipscomb, 14, said he was in band class when officials announced the school was on lockdown over the PA system.
He said he was frightened by the incident.
“The teacher started locking the doors,” he said while walking home about 10:30 a.m. after being released for the day.
John Jensen, 64, of Warren, lives in the high school’s neighborhood. He said he graduated from Fitzgerald High School in 1972 and his son graduated in 2005.
“Well, it’s not good,” he said as he finished up his daily two-mile walk near the school. “But it can happen anywhere.”