A teenage boy appeared in juvenile court Thursday in connection with the stabbing of a 16-year-old Black girl in Lakeside that is being investigated as a hate crime.
The teen, who has not been identified because he is a juvenile, is accused of stabbing and hurling racial slurs at another teen at an apartment complex in Lakeside on April 16.
The District Attorney's Office charged the teen with one count of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Each charge also carries an added hate-crime allegation, an allegation of personal use of a deadly weapon, and an allegation of personal infliction of great bodily injuries.
Appearing in court via teleconference, the teen denied all the charges and allegations against him. A judge denied the defendant's request to be released from detention into parental custody.
Leading up to the stabbing on April 16, the suspect and a group of other teenagers confronted the victim and her family about an assault that took place earlier in the day. The group yelled racist slurs at the girl and her family during the confrontation, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
A fight then ensued and the boy stabbed the girl in the back. He and the group then ran away from the scene, the SDSO said.
The girl was left with serious stab wounds to the back and was taken to the hospital. She is expected to survive.
Another teen — believed to be the girlfriend of the suspect — was arrested "for brandishing a weapon" and released. Detectives are also investigating whether the suspect's father was also part of the crowd that confronted the girl and her family. Neither has been charged with any crimes.
“Multiple aspects of this incident are appalling and as our investigation moves forward, we will be sure to hold everyone accountable for whom the evidence shows committed a crime,” DA Summer Stephan said.
Following the stabbing, activists and community members confronted the San Diego County Sheriff's Department during a town hall in Lakeside, where 10 hate crimes have been investigated since 2019, including one so far this year.
"It's a running joke that East County is racist," said Danielle Wilkerson of the East County BIPOC Coalition. "You've heard Klantee, you’ve heard White Hills, all the things people put a layer of humor on, but that racism is real and alive, and we had a victim this week."
Stephan said there has been a "disturbing increase in hate crimes, We’ve seen a disturbing increase in hate crimes, with the highest number being committed against persons who are Black."
The DA said her office, which prosecutes crimes across San Diego County, has filed 21 hate crime cases in 2020 and 30 cases in 2021.
An online submission website and hotline was established to make it easier for citizens to report hate crimes in 2020. At the time, there was a surge of hate-related incidents toward the Asian community amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Deputies said they're working to expose racist organizations in the county, noting that this week's town hall meeting in response to the Lakeside stabbing is a perfect example of the department taking reports of hate crimes seriously.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to contact SDSO at (858) 565-5200. Anonymous tips can be made by calling CrimeStoppers at (888) 580-8477.
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