Ryan Carter, 12, was stabbed and killed at a friend's home Monday afternoon. Deputies are trying to determine what happened in the moments before his death.
One day after a 12-year-old boy was stabbed in the driveway of a friend’s home, investigators are trying to determine what may have led to the killing.
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies found the boy with a stab wound to the chest around 1:30 p.m. Monday on Royal Road in Lakeside.
Investigators are questioning witnesses including the 10-year-old boy who lived in the home and his mother who was home at the time of the stabbing.
They’re also talking with family members and relatives of the stabbing victim to try and piece together what may have happened.
A family member of the victim identified the boy killed as 12-year-old Ryan Carter.
Carter, who lived nearby in The Knolls mobile home park, was playing with his friend on a day when both were out of school for the Martin Luther King Day holiday.
Neighbor Ashley Waldrop’s brother was friends with Carter and the boy detained by deputies.
She said the two boys were close and played together “every day” playing with X-Box, Nerf guns and a trampoline.
Waldrop said Carter was well-liked by everyone in the neighborhood.
"He was a great kid, always full of energy, very fun, really very, very funny actually," she said.
“There’s a group of kids who play together. It’s a really good community because we have all those kids there and they have each other.”
Waldrop believes the stabbing was an accident. Other neighbors in the tight-knit community agreed. One man said he saw the suspect just after he was taken away. His expression was unlike anything the man had seen before, he said.
"He looked shocked, but kind of like he didn't know what was going on either," said neighbor Bruce Wheedon. "He just had kind of a blank look and then he just started screaming when they cuffed him up and they didn't know what was going on."
On Tuesday morning, neighbors gathered to talk about the two boys involved in the stabbing. They described both as “good kids.”
The 10-year-old boy had issues with anger management and mental illness, according to another neighbor.
"He had just gotten on to a new medication and they were starting to tweak it to see what dosage he needed," said Brian Richeson, a friend of the family.
Carter's school issued the following statement:
"The students and staff of Foothills Christian School are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our beloved students. Our prayers and love are with his family and friends. Grief counselors are at the school to help the students deal w/ this tragic loss. The family attends the church we are affiliated w/, Foothills Christian Church. All Church resources will be available to help them during this difficult time and to support them in their grief."
Deputies and emergency crews used CPR at the scene but Carter was later pronounced dead at Rady Children's Hospital.
Homicide investigators have recovered the knife used in the killing but refused to release details on what type of knife it was or where it was located before the stabbing.
Homicide detectives say they are even shocked at what happened.
“Any homicide is a terrible occurrence, this in a case when you’re talking about small children, yes it’s a terrible case,” said Lt. Larry Nesbit.
The boy has not been charged and detectives are unsure at this point whether they will press any charges.
"California law does not recognize that a child can commit a crime, so there are many different factors that come into play in this case," Nesbit said. "That's why we are a liaison with child welfare services as well as personnel with the county District Attorney's office."
Local attorney and neuropsychologist Dr. Bonny Forrest said the incident sounded like an intense crime of passion and rage with little planning involved.
"It sounds like a crime or act which was committed in a moment of extreme impulse that he wasn't able to control as a 10-year-old," she said. "He didn't maybe even understand what dead means."
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