Girl stabbed at L.A.-area high school dies

Three students and a dean were stabbed Friday during a lunchtime argument at South East High School in Los Angeles. One girl later died of her wounds.

SOUTH GATE, Calif. - A girl stabbed by a male student at her Los Angeles-area school died at a hospital Friday night, hours after the attack that also injured a dean and another student who tried to intervene, authorities said.

The girl, a student at South East High School in South Gate, died at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, Sheriff's Deputy Pete Gomez said.

The suspect, 18-year-old senior Abraham Lopez, was in police custody, Los Angeles Unified School District police Chief Steve Zipperman said at a news conference.

4 hurt in Calif. high school campus attack

The incident began with Lopez arguing with the girl, whose name is being withheld by authorities, and choking her in a courtyard away from classrooms, police said.

"The dean tried to intervene and during that the dean realized the male had a knife and was attacking the female student," Zipperman told KABC-TV earlier Friday.

Several students told KABC that the attacker was the former boyfriend of the female student.

Five people — the three stabbing victims, the suspect and a campus police officer who hurt his back in the scuffle — were taken to area hospitals after the attack reported minutes before 11 a.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Matt Levesque said.

The girl later died after undergoing surgery.

After the attack investigators received information that led them to believe the suspect may have also planted explosives in the vehicle of the girl's family, which was parked in a garage at the hospital, Zipperman said.

The hospital was briefly locked down Friday night while a sheriff's bomb squad searched the car and found nothing, Zipperman said. Another team searched the family's home and found nothing, he said.

"This is our bread and butter, the safety and security of our students," Zipperman told KCAL-TV. "It's difficult to understand if somebody gets stabbed, but then when we lose a student as a result of that, let's face it there isn't anything worse."

Lopez was taken to a hospital as a precaution to make sure he wasn't injured during his arrest, school district officials said.

He was being held on suspicion of murder on $1 million bail, according to jail records.

Sheriff's deputies reached by phone did not know if he had hired an attorney.

It wasn't immediately clear what triggered the initial confrontation. A precautionary lockdown was ordered but lifted a few hours later and classes resumed.

Grief counselors were immediately made available to students at the school, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy said.

South East High School has about 3,000 students and is located about 15 miles south of Los Angeles.