Update: Lopez has been charged with 10 felony counts, including murder and “false imprisonment by violence,” by the L.A. County District Attorney. He'll be in Downey Superior Court tomorrow, facing a maximum sentence of life in prison and a recommended $1.28 million bail.
The fatal stabbing of 17-year-old South East High School student Cindi Santana last Friday — allegedly by bitter ex-boyfriend and fellow student Abraham Lopez, 18 — is made even more tragic, this morning, with reports that the murder might have been prevented.
LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy tells KNX news radio that Santana's mother warned South East High officials last week that Lopez was out of jail “after allegedly threatening the girl.”
And the comments Lopez posted to his Facebook page on Wednesday, under the name “Junior Lopez,” reveal that disapproval from Santana's mom may have been the source of his rage. LA Late copy-pasted the foreshadowing rant:
“I could give a — about what ur mom put me through but the fact that you deny us after so long and sided by ur mom after everything i have done for u and made sure i fulfilled all ur needs, all this … u filled my head with you made me what i became but like i said the fact that you denied what we had in front of ur mom and my sis is what is breaking me the most you had something good and you threw it away i hope you soon realize.”
And in comments on the post, he reportedly wrote:
“Si true but she denied us because she's afraid to tell her mom how she feels about me and this is just basic info but now I can talk to her no more and it sucks:( … Love … with my ex. We got back together but because of her mom we can no longer see each other.”
One senior at the high school, located in South Gate, told the Los Angeles Times of Santana and Lopez: “They were always walking around school, a happy couple. It didn't seem like there was nothing wrong,”
Along with his young ex-girlfriend, Lopez allegedly stabbed 11th-grader Jorge Garcia, a varsity football player, and Dean Christina Ordonez when they tried to intervene.
“During the argument [Lopez] began suddenly striking [Santana] with his
fists and then pushed her to the ground,'' reads an L.A. County Sheriff's Department statement on the attack. “The suspect then stabbed the victim several times before being subdued.''
Grief crisis counselors are available on campus today, and two memorial Facebook pages have been set up for Santana.
But friends and family — and any parent with a kid at LAUSD — can't help but wonder: Why wasn't security beefed up at South East High following the heads-up from Santana's mom?
Deasy said on the radio that school officials get tons of tips just like this one that end up going nowhere, and therefore can't react dramatically to every one.
But the seriousness of Lopez' threats seems to have warranted some extra caution and protection of Santana on campus. The Times reports:
Three days before the stabbing, he'd been released on $50,000 bail after being arrested on Sept. 25 for making a criminal threat against Santana. After the stabbing, authorities became worried that Lopez might have planted an explosive device in a car owned by Santana's family. That concern led to the temporary evacuation of the hospital parking structure where the victim's family had driven.
Parents gathered at the school yesterday to call for amped security measures like bag-searching and running students through metal detectors.
What do you think? Was this an isolated incident, or have LAUSD officials let security slack to dangerous lows?
Originally posted at 9:45 a.m.