8 teens arrested on murder charges in fatal beating of 17-year-old boy

FAN Editor

Eight high school students in Las Vegas between the ages of 13 and 17 have been arrested on suspicion of murder in the fatal beating of a 17-year-old classmate, authorities announced Tuesday at a news conference.

Las Vegas police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson said investigators were still working to identify two more students believed to have participated in the Nov. 1 fight that he said was over a pair of wireless headphones and a vape pen.

Johansson said the local FBI office assisted with the arrests Tuesday morning of the eight students. The two outstanding students will also face murder charges, he said.

Johansson said the 17-year-old victim, Jonathan Lewis Jr., remained hospitalized with severe “head trauma” and other injuries until his death about a week after the fight. The coroner’s office in Las Vegas ruled the beating a homicide.

Las Vegas Undersheriff Andrew Walsh called a video of the attack, which has circulated on social media, “extremely disturbing.”

Johansson said it was that video that allowed investigators, with the help of school officials and Clark County School District police, to identify the suspects.

“Many of you, and many people in the community, have seen the violent video that has circulated throughout our community via social media,” Walsh said Wednesday. “And if you, or your child, or someone you knew, has seen that violent video, and recognized anybody that may have been a participant in this senseless crime, you need to get ahold of us.”

Authorities did not name the suspects because they are juveniles. Johansson said he and his team are working with the local district attorney’s office to determine if they will be charged with murder as adults.

The fight, Johansson said, had been prearranged after the headphones and vape pen were stolen from the victim’s friend.

Johansson said investigators believe that the victim originally wasn’t supposed to be involved in the fight but had accompanied his friend to a nearby alleyway, where the brawl was scheduled to take place after classes ended for the day at Rancho High School in eastern Las Vegas.

In the alley, the 10 students “immediately swarm him, pull him to the ground and begin kicking, punching and stomping on him,” Johansson said.

After the fight, he said a “citizen” in the area found the victim badly beaten and unconscious in the alleyway and carried him back to campus, where school staff called 911.

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