NEW YORK - A 13-year-old boy has been arrested is facing charges of second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of a first-year student at Barnard College.
Inside a courtroom on Friday, the NYPD detective who made the arrest testified that the teen confessed his involvement in the stabbing death of Tessa Majors, 18, in Morningside Park on Wednesday, a police source told FOX 5 News.
According to the detective, the teen said he and two friends were in Morningside Park Wendesday night looking to rob people. The detective testified that the teen said his friend put Majors in a chokehold, stole items from her pocket and then stabbed her so hard feathers flew from her jacket.
The three teens allegedly then left the park to go home, leaving Majors for dead.
The boy, whose name has not been made public, is among just a handful of people in their early teens to be charged with murder in the city in recent years. He is due back in court Tuesday and will be tried as a juvenile delinquent in family court.
The New York Daily News reports that charges against a 14-year-old boy who was suspected in Majors' death have been dropped. Police are still searching for at least two other suspects involved in the murder.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC Radio that he was "absolutely confident that any individuals involved in this terrible, heinous attack will be brought to justice and will be brought to justice quickly.”
Flowers were left on the campus of Bernard in memory of murdered student Tessa Majors.
Stabbed in the heart and the face
According to authorities, Majors had entered Morningside Park just before 7 p.m. and was confronted by the teens who intended to rob her.
A struggle ensued at the bottom of a staircase. One of the attackers took out a knife and stabbed Majors at least three times. She was struck in the heart and the face, according to sources.
Majors then staggered to Morningside Drive where police responding to a 9-1-1 call about a woman assaulted near West 116th Street and Morningside Drive found her suffering from four stab wounds.
The student was taken to Mount Sinai/St. Luke’s Hospital where she died a short time later.
Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed to death in Morningside Heights.
Police said there has been a recent spike in crime in Morningside Park.
“There has been an increase, there’s been effective deployment from both the patrol and the detective side, there has been arrests on that prior pattern, as well as increased patrols in the area. I wish it had prevented this one, I truly do,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
"We will find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice."
Majors' parents, who live in Charlottesville, Virginia headed to New York after learning the tragic news, her grandparents told the Daily News.
Her grandfather, Andrew Burton, called her "a lovely, lovely girl -- very, very smart and sweet."
Isabel Jauregui, a Barnard student who works on the Columbia Spectator campus newspaper, told The New York Times that students were on edge.
"My friend is throwing up in the bathroom," she said. "She's so scared."
Counselors were being made available.
"There is high confidence that these perpetrators will be arrested," said Mayor Bill de Blasio during a news conference in Brooklyn Thursday.
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The college is a member of the Seven Sisters, an association of seven prominent women's liberal arts colleges.
Tessa Majors, 18, of Virginia was stabbed to death inside Morningside Park.
Barnard's President sent the following letter to students and staff:
Dear Barnard Community,
With broken hearts, we share tragic news about the death of one of our students. Earlier this evening, Tessa Majors, a first year student at Barnard, was fatally injured during an armed robbery that occurred off campus in Morningside Park.
Dean Grinage and I have spoken to her parents and Tessa’s family is enroute to NYC. We are also in close touch with the New York Police Department as they conduct this on-going investigation and seek to identify the assailant in this horrible attack.
Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life. We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community.
This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core. Please know that we are all grieving together and I am thinking of you as we process this awful news as a community.
In these difficult circumstances, it is important for us to take care of each other. The Furman Counseling Center will be open all night tonight and throughout the day tomorrow. We encourage anyone in need of support to come:
Furman Counseling Center: 100 Hewitt Hall, (212) 854-2092
In the days ahead, please know that all of our campus resources are available for you as we mourn this heartbreaking loss together. I encourage you to reach out to the following additional on-campus resources as needed:
Dean of Studies Office: 105 Milbank Hall, (212) 854-2024
After-hours psychological emergency line: (855) 622-1903
International SOS for students who are abroad: +1-215-942-8478
We will provide you with updates as they become available to us. Barnard and Columbia Public Safety are coordinating closely with the NYPD. We remind all students that public safety provides 24/7 escort services and students are free to reach out with any questions or concerns (212-854-6666).
To our entire Barnard community, I am in mourning with you and am here for you. Tonight and in the days ahead, please hold Tessa and her family in your hearts and keep each other close.
Sian Leah Beilock, President
The Associated Press contributed to this report.