Eight juveniles are facing murder charges in the “senseless” beating death of a 17-year-old Las Vegas high school student that was caught on video, police say.
Jonathan Lewis died after being beaten when a fight broke out over a pair of stolen wireless headphones and possibly over a stolen marijuana vape pen, according to a police spokesperson.
The beating happened November 1 in an alley near the Rancho High School campus after school let out, Las Vegas police Lt. Jason Johansson said in a news conference Tuesday.
Events in the alley were captured in a video that has been widely shared on social media. “What you see in the video is approximately 10 subjects kicking, stomping and punching our victim, Jonathan, as he is on the ground not defending himself, to the point that he becomes unconscious,” Johansson said.
“The video is very graphic and, in my opinion, is very void of humanity.”
Eight juveniles – whose names have not been released – were taken into custody and “will be charged with the crime of murder,” said Undersheriff Andrew Walsh.
The suspects range in age from 13 to 17 and are students at Rancho High School.
Half the teens arrested will be tried as adults, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Those four cases were automatically transferred to adult criminal court because the defendants are 16 or 17, the newspaper reported.
The remaining defendants, between 13 and 15, will face certification hearings in family court, where a judge will determine if they also will be tried as adults, according to the Review-Journal.
In addition, police released images of two people allegedly connected to the fight and asked the public for help identifying them.
CNN has reached out to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office for comment.
He was ‘a hero’
Jonathan “was a loving, kind, and protective young man who cared deeply about his friends and family,” the teen’s father told CNN. “(He) was a hero who was trying to help one of his smaller friends who was being bullied and had something stolen from him and he tried to intervene,” Jonathan Lewis Sr. said in a statement.
Jonathan died six days after the beating, according to his father. An autopsy determined that the cause of his death was blunt force trauma, police said.
The entire school district ”grieves the loss of every student,” Clark County School District said in a statement.
“While we cannot provide additional information, as this is an active police investigation, please know that District leadership and School Police are working with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the District Attorney’s office so those involved are held accountable for their actions.”
Jonathan’s parents have started a foundation in honor of their son, according to the Team Jonathan website.
“Jonathan’s mom came up with the name Team Jonathan while we talked about starting a foundation for our son in the hospital,” a statement on the website reads.
“After holding my son’s hand in the hospital while on life support for two days and nights and watching his life leave his body and being shocked by the immensity and horror of my beloved boy just being beaten to death, I felt a mission to act that moved me to my core,” the statement said.
Investigators say they are looking for more people who appear in the video of the beating. “If you or your child or somebody you know has seen that video and recognizes anybody that may have been a participant in this senseless crime, you need to get ahold of us and our homicide section,” Walsh said.
CNN’s Tina Burnside and Natalie Barr contributed to this report.
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