Update: A second suspect in the stabbing of Tessa Majors reportedly fled from a car in Harlem on his way to meet police for questioning on Monday night. The 14-year-old suspect was being driven by family members to the local precinct for voluntary questioning before he ran out of the car. Police are still looking for him and a current manhunt is underway in the New York area.
This story was originally published on December 13, 2019.
On Friday, The New York Times reported that a 13-year-old boy has been arrested and charged in the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Barnard College student Tessa Majors. He was charged with murder, robbery, and criminal possession of a weapon. Detectives allegedly believe that two other people participated in the stabbing, but the New York Police Department said it could not confirm these details to Refinery29.
Majors was reportedly jogging down a set of stairs in Morningside Park near the Barnard campus in New York City when a group of people approached her. During a struggle, the college freshman was slashed on the chin and stabbed underneath her arm. She then staggered to a Columbia University guard booth where a security guard found her unconscious and called 911. She was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital.
Students at Barnard mourned Majors' death, recalling her love for music and performing, while expressing the fear and alarm her killing has set off on campus.
“We are strong women, and that’s a characteristic at Barnard,” Caroline Kichler, 21, an economics major, told the New York Daily News. "We are taught to be strong, but in the real world it’s not always like that. It could have been anyone, and it’s awful it happened.”
While Morningside Park has a reputation for violence, a number of safety initiatives have been put in place in recent years, particularly for students of nearby Columbia and Barnard. However, the area has seen an uptick in crime — earlier this year several teenagers were arrested in a pattern of muggings that targeted young women walking through the park.
In a statement sent to Refinery29, Majors’ family expressed their heartbreak over this tragedy. "We lost a very special, very talented, and very well-loved young woman. Tess shone bright in this world, and our hearts will never be the same."