Merced police say a group of young men stabbed a 16-year-old boy several times Tuesday afternoon. The teen had ridden a bus to a neighborhood from Valley Community School shortly before the attack.
Lt. Bimley West said, "The officers located this victim, and Riggs paramedic and fire arrived, and administered medical attention, and ultimately medflighted him to hospital in Modesto."
Darlene Brockman says she heard the helicopter and was shocked to learn what happened.
"It's sad... it's sad," Brockman said. "I can't believe it."
Administrators at the nearby Hoover Middle School brought all of their students indoors as officers searched for the suspects, but Lt. Bimley West says they were nowhere to be found. Investigators believe the attackers attend the same school as the victim.
The Merced County Office of Education says it's taking this attack very seriously, and is now using metal detectors on the Valley Community School campus.
"At this point we're not sure how long that will continue," Nathan Quevedo said. "We're working with the Merced Police Department. We are collecting video footage from the bus and hopefully that will help the police department in their investigation."
Merced police say witnesses reported the suspects were wearing red and may be gang members, but it's not clear if the victim has any gang ties. Lt. West says an officer who works at Valley Community School daily is now trying to prevent any future attacks.
Lt. West added, "We want the parents to know we as a law enforcement agency are very concerned about what's going on in our community, and the safety of all the kids, and we'll do everything we can to assure their safety."