SPRING, Texas - Gang rivalry appears to be the motive in the stabbings at Spring High School in north Harris County on Wednesday, according to HCSO investigators.
During the altercation, 17 year-old Joshua Devon Broussard was killed and three others were injured.
Seventeen year-old Luis Alonzo Alfaro has been charged with Broussard’s murder and is currently at the Harris County Jail. No more charges are expected in the case.
Chaos erupted on the campus Wednesday when a fight left broke out between two groups of students. At the end of the fight, Broussard was left bleeding from stab wounds in the hallway, where he died. Three other students – also stabbed -- were transported to the hospitals as the school was placed on immediate lockdown.
Chelitha Brady’s daughter saw the whole thing and described it to her mom in a call that made her heart stop.
”She said, ‘Mom, the young man just fell dead on me,’” Brady said. “She said, “Momma, it was some guys, they went to fightin’ and they went to stabbin... You just got to come, you just got to come.’”
Brady managed to get inside the school to check on her daughter before it was locked down. She said she saw the victim’s body lying in a hallway.
The most seriously injured victim was 16-year-old Deaveon Brazil. He was flown by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute. Brazil, a junior, was upgraded from critical to good condition Wednesday afternoon and released.
The other two victims were taken by ambulance to Memorial Hermann and Houston Northwest Medical Center. Both are expected to be OK.
Three “persons of interest” – all Spring High School students—were taken into custody, according to Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
Investigators believe other students who were handcuffed at the school and detained were witnesses.
The fight broke out around 7:10 a.m. at the school near I-45 and Cypresswood Drive. Bad blood between two groups who reportedly fought earlier in the week led to spilled blood in a hallway near the cafeteria.
Some students said they, too, believed it was a gang fight.
”It was blood everywhere,” said a Spring High School senior. “He [Broussard] walked right in front of me.”
In probable cause court Thursday, Alfaro said the fight started because Broussard bumped shoulders with him. That turned into an argument, which led to a fist fight.
Alfaro allegedly told detectives he pulled out a pocket knife and swung it in a back-and-forth motion as he covered his face with his other arm.
But witnesses who was seated right next to Broussard when the fight began told a different story.
”The man just threw all the stuff off the table and jumped across the table and hit the young man [Broussard] in the face and made him fall on the floor,” the girl said. “I saw them stab the students.”
Alfaro then tried to run away but was caught just moments later.
The school remained on lockdown and hundreds of parents who rushed to the scene were kept away from the campus for the next six hours. The parents grew frustrated at the lack of information they were given and questioned the overall safety of the school.
”A little worried... you never want to see yellow tape across your daughter’s school,” said Katherine Kerron. “It’s just unacceptable. There needs to be a drastic change.”
As the hours ticked by and the temperature soared, the frustration level also rose.
KHOU 11 News Reporter Jeremy Desel spoke with parents who gathered at a Sonic across the street from the school. The only information the parents said they had to go on was from text messages and phone calls periodically from their kids.
”They were walking out of the area when it happened, but they sent pictures to me of all the blood everywhere. All they texted and told me was one died and, out of the total, five were stabbed. All students,” one worried father said.
Gabrielle Whitlock, a parent and former Spring ISD teacher, was among those frustrated by the way the district handled the incident.
”Why aren’t they out here? I’ve been out here trying to console parents because I’ve been though those lockdown drills, I know exactly what is going on inside that building,” Whitlock said. “This is Dr. Draper’s fault. When is he going to get a reality check that we have discipline issues? There’s a hundred kids in this school that cause problems and 1,400 that are good kids in here.”
Whitlock said she taught the student who was killed.
”I’m angry and I am hurt that a school district and a school that I love, that I came back to teach at, that I had to leave because of the stress of kids like this,” Whitlock said. “I love teaching, that was my passion and now I see something like this, I am angry and I am hurt. My son is sitting in English class and this is his second week of high school? Where are the administrators?”
The district finally sent out a phone alert to parents just after 10 a.m. confirming the death and injuries.
”There’s not a single parent out here that wants their kid going to this school, but we can’t move and so we’re stuck with this,” Whitlock said.
Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Ralph Draper later said the initial lack of information was due to security concerns.
”In my nearly 30-year career, this is one thing that you pray never happens,” Dr. Draper said. “Please remember these children.”
Classes at Spring High School were canceled until Monday.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is part of the multi-agency, Stop Houston Gangs Task Force.