Tanaya Lewis is accused of stabbing a classmate to death on campus at Fitzgerald High School in Warren, Michigan. Prosecutors have said that Lewis was smiling and laughing as she chased and stabbed Danyna Gibson, 16. The stabbing was allegedly over a boy. The incident occurred on the morning of September 12 at around 8:30 a.m. Authorities say that Gibson was stabbed twice in the chest with a steak knife. Gibson’s heart was pierced and her lung was punctured. A school resource officer attempted to perform CPR after he was drawn to the classroom after hearing screams. There were between 20 and 30 students in the classroom, in addition to a teacher, at the time of the attack. Lewis is charged with one count of first-degree murder. When asked if she understood the charges, the suspect nodded and said yes. Lewis also understood that she could possibly face life in prison without parole.
Gibson was rushed to St. John’s Oakland Hospital where she was pronounced dead at around 9:30 a.m. local time. Lewis, 17. was taken into custody at the scene. The murder weapon was also recovered at the scene. Lewis was arraigned in court on September 14. In court, Lewis was represented by defense attorney Mark Brown. Lewis will appear in court again on September 27. The suspect was remanded without bond.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Mayor of Warren Said that Lewis Had Posted About Her Intentions on Facebook
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts wrote on Facebook that Lewis and Gibson “were honor society students and good friends.” Fouts said that a family friend told him that Lewis had posted about her intentions on social media.” Fouts added, “Someone on social media may have seen this and could have prevented this had they told someone. I hope an effort will be made at Fitzgerald HS and other schools to encourage young people to say something if they have knowledge of a potential dangerous conflict.” The mayor’s claims have not been verified by police investigators.
Posts on Lewis’ Facebook page indicate that she is on the school’s soccer team.
2. One Witness Said She Saw Gibson Trying to Run From Lewis
Victoria Oraczko told the Detroit Free Press that she was in the classroom when the stabbing happened. Oraczko said she heard someone yelling, “She’s gonna kill me. She’s gonna kill me. I froze. I don’t know what to do. I just saw one of my friends just dying.” Another witness, Francesco Pascua, told ABC Detroit, “She ran out of the classroom while the teacher was pushing her out and she was saying, “I’m going to kill you, I am going to slit your throat.” She was saying crazy things and like, running around in circles.”
3. Police Are Investigating the Phone of the Boy Believed to Be Involved in the Love-Triangle
Warren Police Commissioner has said that investigators are going through the phone of the boy believed to be at the center of the feud between the suspect and the Gibson. Dwyer said that the suspect and the male involved had been in contact the day before the stabbing. The male is co-operating with the investigation. Dwyer also said, “This is the first type of situation we’ve had in the school district in the past 50 years. Officers can’t recall a case where a student was actually murdered at a high school in Warren.”
Gibson was a member of the National Honor Guard Society and was a straight-A student, reports the Detroit News. In addition, … was a member of the robotics club, the marching band, student council and generation of promise, reports WXYZ.
The Associated Press reports that authorities believe Lewis was “upset and disturbed” when the boy in question broke up with her.
4. One Friend Asked Lewis on Facebook, ‘Why Would You Do This?’
Lewis was also a straight-A student. One friend wrote on Facebook about the stabbing, “Tanaya you was so smart and nice also I don’t understand why you would do such a thing… taking college classes and everything ☹️ I’m so sad , how could you have so much hate in your body to do this? Why? Why? Why?”
Speaking to Fox Detroit’s Erika Erickson, one friend called Gibson “the smartest and brightest.” While saying of the suspect the same person said, “I never, ever expected this from her.”
A statement from the school district superintendent Laurie Fournier said, “We are deeply saddened to share that the Fitzgerald High School student who was stabbed this morning passed away at the hospital. Our hearts and prayers go out to the student’s family and we offer our deepest sympathy.
Students at Fitzgerald High School were released at 10 a.m. this morning. On Thursday, September 13th, Fitzgerald High School will be closed however the middle school and elementary schools will be open. At the High School we have deployed additional counselors, psychologists and social workers for students and staff who need support during this difficult time. Students and their parents may come to the High School between the hours of 8am and 2pm for support and assistance. We are working very closely with the police department on this matter as well as conducting an internal school review of the incident which will review all our current safety procedures and protocols. This is a time of mourning for the Fitzgerald Community and we ask for you to respect the privacy of the victim’s family.”
5. A Vigil Was Held for Gibson on the Afternoon of September 13
A vigil was held on the football field of Fitzgerald High School, the day after Danyna Gibson’s death. The school said on their Facebook page, “Our Fitzgerald Community is #FitzNation strong and it’s important that we come together and support each other. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Danyna’s family, friends and classmates during this difficult time.”