A 15-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed outside his school gates has been identified by police as Khayri McLean.
A 16-year-old boy remains in police custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder at an address in Huddersfield shortly before 5am on Thursday.
A police spokesperson said the attack on Khayri is being treated as a targeted incident and specialist detectives are continuing to conduct a wide range of enquiries across the Huddersfield area.
Chief Superintendent James Griffiths, District Commander of Kirklees Police, said: “We full realise the concern Wednesday’s murder has caused in communities, and I want to reassure residents everything possible is being done to investigate what took place.”
The mother of Khayri’s girlfriend said her daughter had described him as “the perfect boy”.
Sherrin James, who left flowers at the scene on Thursday, said her daughter Shyana, 16, had been going out with him for around eight months.
The 35-year-old said the pair were “literally inseparable”, adding: “He was her first proper boyfriend. She absolutely adored him and he absolutely adored her. She said he was perfect.”
Ms James said Khayri had messaged Shyana shortly before the incident, saying he “had had a good day at school and couldn’t wait to see her”.
She added: “Her friend phoned her within minutes saying he had been hurt and was bleeding.
“I drove straight round, parked at the top and ran down. His mum was here and some of the teachers.
“I got on the floor with them and held his hand. I was telling him to wait for Shyana.
“I was just trying to make him pull through because he was squeezing my hand.”
Ms James said her daughter is “heartbroken”, adding: “I can’t even describe it. She’s just in bits.”
Khayri was treated at the scene and then taken to Leeds General Infirmary for emergency surgery, police said, but he was pronounced dead a short time later.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to give the teenager “the best send-off”.
NHTS pupils Alfie Wilkinson and Ruben Duncan-Keane left flowers at the scene with their mothers.
Ruben, 12, said they had been “traumatised” by what had happened while Alfie, 12, described Khayri as “a very popular kid”.
He said: “I’ve seen him about and he just looked like a nice kid and I didn’t know why anybody would want to do that to anyone.”
Describing the incident, Alfie said: “I saw him lying on the floor and then one of my teachers started giving him chest compressions to keep him alive and covering the wound.
“He thought it was a normal school day, going to school and then he came out and got stabbed. He didn’t even get to go home and tell his mum how his day was, and that shouldn’t happen to anyone.”
Headteacher Andrew Fell said in a statement that NHTS had “lost a wonderful student from our school community”.
Mr Fell said: “It is with enormous sadness that I must tell you that following an incident on Woodhouse Hill Road yesterday, one of our pupils has tragically lost their life.
“The pupil was taken by ambulance to hospital after the incident but despite the most valiant of efforts, medical staff were unable to save their life.
“This is truly shocking news for our pupils, your children and our staff. We will be providing specialist support for any among our community who feel they could benefit.”
A couple, who asked not to be named, said they had removed their son from the school over concerns about knives and “gangs”.
The mother said: “I took him out because I knew this was going to happen.”
Local councillor Amanda Pinnock, who represents Ashbrow ward on Kirklees Council, also attended the scene and said: “People are feeling shock, people are feeling upset, quite rightly so – a terrible incident had taken place, a young boy has lost his life. We are all heartbroken.
“This is not what we want to be hearing in our community. It is concerning, we have to make sure something like this never happens again.
“This isn’t isolated to Ashbrow, it’s certainly not isolated to Huddersfield, it’s something affecting the whole country and it needs to be addressed.”
Billy Shankland attended the scene with his son, a Year 7 pupil at the school, to lay flowers.
He said: “It’s awful, I’ve got a child within the same age group, I can’t imagine what the family’s going through.
Police investigating the murder of a 15-year-old male in Huddersfield have made an arrest. A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder this morning and is in custody. See more at https://t.co/waA84B10Q3 pic.twitter.com/Awhopss92Q
— West Yorkshire Police (@WestYorksPolice) September 22, 2022
“He didn’t know the boy, but he’s got friends who did. It’s a shock. It is very (concerning) because we don’t know if it’s targeted or random – for us, anything could be happening. It’s scary.”
Lucy Smith, who lives near the school, said: “I think we’re all in shock, I’ve got two teenagers roughly the same age and anyone with a family must be feeling shocked and saddened.”
“It was really important for me to come here, when things like this happen, to do something that can just help us feel better when we are all feeling completely powerless in the face of violence and thinking about a family that must be falling apart today.”
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Marc Bowes said police have identified a number of witnesses to the incident.
“Our investigation is still at a very early stage, and we will be carrying out extensive inquiries to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident that has resulted in the absolutely senseless loss of a young life,” he said.
“We recognise that an incident of this nature will cause understandable shock and concern in the community, and we are working closely alongside our colleagues at Kirklees District who are increasing their presence in the area to reassure people and keep them updated as our investigation progresses.
“We have already identified a number of witnesses to the incident itself but would still like to hear from anyone who has any information that could assist the investigation.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat, quoting crime reference 13220521713.