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Eight students face murder charges after the FBI and local police reportedly arrested them on Tuesday in connection to the beating death of a Las Vegas teenager near a local high school earlier this month.
Jonathan Lewis Jr., a 17-year-old student of Rancho High School, died on Tuesday at University Medical Center while receiving treatment for injuries he suffered during the attack. Lewis Jr.’s father said his son was hospitalized and put on life support until he eventually passed away due to his injuries.
The Clark County coroner’s office confirmed to local media that Lewis Jr. died with complications of multiple blunt force injuries and listed his manner of death as homicide.
Although the names of those arrested on Tuesday were not immediately released, local media reported that all eight students are between 13 and 17 years old.
According to local media, a process known as certification allows authorities to automatically move murder charges to the adult system for 16-year-old or 17-year-old suspects under Nevada state law.
Judges can also certify suspects over the age of 14 as adults for any felony offense, including murder.
Lewis Jr. was severely beaten by a violent mob near the local Las Vegas high school on November 1, according to reports.
Jonathan Lewis Sr. said on a GoFundMe page that, from his understanding, a smaller friend of Lewis Jr. had an item stolen by a group of 15 who then threw the boy in a trash can. When Lewis Jr. confronted the mob, they attacked him.
“A couple (of people) attacked him, and they weren’t able to hurt him enough, and they all attacked him at once,” Lewis Sr. told local media.
Video footage of the purported incident circulated on social media this month, which appears to show a large group of students pushing a young male to a fence and severely beating him while the victim lies on the ground.
The teenage boy who was severely beaten by a group of students in Las Vegas, Nevada has DIED of his injuries.
Jonathan Lewis, was beaten by up to 15 boys at his school and was subsequently put on life support in critical condition.
However, he has now passed away- his… pic.twitter.com/teEZiTQIZh
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) November 12, 2023
The incident sent Lewis Jr. to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers discovered him bleeding from the head.
Las Vegas Metro Police Lt. Jason Johannson reportedly said authorities believe ten people were involved in the attack, all of whom were students of Rancho High School.
He described the video of the attack as “void of humanity,” but suggested there was no evidence to consider the incident as a hate crime.
Authorities have asked the public for help identifying the two other suspects allegedly involved in the incident.
Lewis Sr. described his son as “a loving, giving, kind, fierce young man who loved community and caring for others.”
“This horrific tragedy is reflective of the divisive, conflict based, uncaring state that our society and humanity is currently facing with how we interact with our community,” he wrote. “Empathy and love are great strength and cowardly violence is pathetic.”
Lewis Jr. reportedly aspired to be an artist, and was interested in drawing, photography, and painting. He considered joining the military to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, who served in the U.S. Navy.