Police in New York City are investigating the murder of a college student who was brutally stabbed in a Manhattan park just steps away from her campus Wednesday evening.
Tessa Majors, a freshman at Barnard College, was stabbed several times in Morningside Park, near West 116th Street, at approximately 6:56 p.m. in what appears to have been a robbery attempt. Police called to the scene found her unconscious and EMS transported her to Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to the NYPD.
The 18-year-old was walking through the park, often frequented by Barnard and Columbia University students, when police believe she was approached by between one and three individuals. One attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed her, said Chief of Patrol Services Rodney Harrison at a press conference Thursday. He said she was able to "stagger" her way to the street, where a college security guard alerted 911.
"The idea that a college freshman at Barnard was murdered in cold blood is absolutely not only painful to me as a parent, but terrifying that that could happen anywhere," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Majors was remembered by friends and classmates as a talented musician and writer from Virginia.
In a letter to the Barnard community, Barnard College president Sian Leah Beilock wrote that receiving the news was "one of the most difficult days in our College's history."
"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," Beilock wrote.
Majors' family was traveling to New York. A gathering in her memory was held at Barnard Thursday evening.
In response to the incident, Barnard College and Columbia University have additional public safety officers on duty and the NYPD has increased the police presence in the area.
CBS New York reports police were questioning two minors in the investigation, but both were released.