A Brawl Broke Out In A California Classroom. Now, A Student Is Dead, Another Injured And A Third Charged With Murder: Police

students california high school stabbing murder
Source: Santa Rosa Police Department

Mar. 4 2023, Published 2:50 p.m. ET

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A 15-year-old student in California was charged with murder after a fight broke out between him and two other students in an art classroom and he stabbed both, killing one and injuring the other, police said.

Around 11:15 a.m. on Mar. 1, officers responded to calls from staff at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa in regard to a fight between students and a possible stabbing, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

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Once at the school, officers located two juvenile students who had been stabbed. They began life-saving efforts on one of the students before they were each transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

One of the students, a 16-year-old male junior, survived their injuries, but the other student, 16-year-old junior Jayden Jess Pienta, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Officers obtained information about the suspect, a 15-year-old male freshman whose name has not been released, and the found him hiding near a creek and took him into custody without incident.

During the investigation, officers determined the two juniors walked into an art class that they were not attending.

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An argument and fight then broke out among them. The teacher and three aides were able to temporarily break up the brawl, but they quickly started fighting again.

That is when the 15-year-old is accused of taking out a knife and stabbing both the 16-year-olds before fleeing the classroom and school campus.


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The suspect was arrested and booked on felony charges of homicide, attempted homicide and having a weapon on a school campus. He was also charged with a misdemeanor of battery on a school campus.

In a statement to parents, students and the school community, Principal Adam Paulson said the stabbing was “the darkest day anyone can remember at Montgomery High,” The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported.

Santa Rosa Police Chief John Cregan said the three students appear to have known each other and had fought in the past, but it wasn’t immediately clear what prompted the deadly incident, KGTV reported.

At a news conference with school officials, several students asked why they didn’t do more to stop the students’ behavior despite knowing there were problems between the three teens, but the officials walked out without answering, according to KGTV.


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