Suspect in fatal stabbing at school arrested

Posted: Updated:
Suspect wanted in connection with charter school stabbing. By Mesa Police Department Suspect wanted in connection with charter school stabbing. By Mesa Police Department
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron


UPDATE: The teenager accused of stabbing a Pinnacle Charter High School on campus has been arrested. The suspect, 17-year-old Robert Valenzuela, Jr. is accused of stabbing 15-year-old Eric Hill on Thursday. outside the school. Mesa police believe the two are members of different gangs and got into a fight.

UPDATE: The Mesa Police Department has identified the victim as Eric Hill, 15.

The investigation revealed Hill and the suspect, Robert John Valenzuela, 17, were engaged in a verbal dispute. The argument escalated into a physical fight and that is when Hill was stabbed multiple times.

Valenzuela is not a student at Pinnacle Charter High School, but is known by many of the witnesses.

Mesa police said it does appear that this incident is gang related.

Valenzuela is still outstanding. He is described as 5 feet 8 inches' tall, 190 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair.

If you have any information you are asked to call the Mesa Police Department.

ORIGINAL: MESA - A 15-year-old is dead after a stabbing at a Valley charter school in Mesa Thursday morning.

Police say a fight broke out after morning classes at the entrance of Pinnacle Charter High School. Kristie Guess, a witness, explains, "It was loud screaming."

Hearing the commotion witnesses in nearby offices ran to help. Michelle Carlson, another witness, tells 3TV, "Heard screaming, walked, saw boy on ground, no movement and lot of blood."

The 15-year-old victim had been stabbed multiple times. Guess tells 3TV, There was a kid with shirt off helping compress the wounds."

The student later died at the hospital. The suspect, police say, is not another student but someone others at the school know. They do not think it was gang-related and do not know what sparked the fight.

Just one block from Mesa City Hall and the Arts Center, Pinnacle High School shares a complex with Northern Arizona University and Mesa Community College.

Fourty students and eight staff members were on site when the 15-year-old was murdered.

The head of the school praised those who tried to help him. Michael Matwick, CEO, says, "They're going through self evaluation asking, ‘Did I do everything I could possibly do’?" He says nothing like this has ever happened on any of Pinnacle's campuses in Mesa, Tempe, Casa Grande or Nogales.

Counselors will be available for students and teachers in Mesa on Monday when classes resume. Police have not released a suspect description.