Updated at the bottom with the coroner's conclusion. The girl was 10, not 11. The headline has been changed. First posted at 9:47 p.m. Saturday.
Cops say an 11-year-old who died following a street fight with an elementary school classmate willingly went to a Long Beach alley to battle her foe of the same age, and that no arrests have been made in the sensational case.
Long Beach police Deputy Chief Robert Luna said the victim, identified in reports as Joanna Ramos, died about 8:50 last night after she was hospitalized shortly before 6 p.m. Friday and medical workers called cops.
But he warned reporters during a 9 p.m. news conference tonight that …
… rumors that Ramos was the victim of ongoing bullying did not appear to be supported by the evidence.
Some TV reports contended that Ramos was bullied and that the fight was ultimately over a boy.
The 11-year-old who fought with her, along with several “onlookers,” were interviewed by detectives, Luna said.
Though no arrests were made, he said a case could be handed to the District Attorney's office for its consideration. And Luna asked for anyone who had information about the fight to call detectives at 562-570-7244.
He said it didn't appear Ramos was knocked to the ground, and he added that detectives don't believe any weapons were used. The fight, Luna said, lasted less than a minute.
The cause of death was in the hands of the L.A. County coroner.
Ramos and her foe apparently both went to the same elementary school and had planned to meet up in the alley to fight after school, Luna said.
Cops wouldn't identify the campus, but the Long Beach Press-Telegram noted that a makeshift memorial for Ramos has cropped up outside Willard Elementary School.
[Update at 10:47 p.m.]: Long Beach police issued a statement with the following passages:
As Long Beach Police began investigating, it was learned that the decedent, and an 11-year-old female student at Willard Elementary, had been involved in a physical altercation with a female classmate. It was determined that afterschool, the two girls, and approximately seven onlookers, walked to a nearby alley to engage in a pre-planned fight. We believe the fight lasted less than one minute, did not involve any weapons, and that no one was knocked to the ground. Once the fight was over, both girls left the location and went their separate ways.
… Detectives have spoken with family members and friends of both girls, and no one has alleged or provided any information that the decedent was being bullied. None of the students interviewed thus far have informed detectives that school officials were made aware of the impending fight.
[Added at 11:03 p.m.]: CBS Los Angeles reports that Ramos actually went back to an after-school program following the fight, apparently not realizing that the injuries she sustained in the fight were bad enough to require hospitalization.
[Update at 11:23 a.m. Monday]: Coroner's officials have ruled Ramos death a homicide. The girl was 10, not 11 as originally reported, according to coroner's investigators.
Coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter told City News Service the girl's death was caused by “blunt force trauma to the head as the result of an altercation.”