Eight teenagers have been arrested in connection with a fatal attack on a Long Island, New York high school student during an after-school fight.
Nassau County police say the teens were involved in the Sept. 16 brawl in Oceanside in which 16-year-old Khaseen Morris was fatally stabbed.
Those arrested Friday include 19-year-old Haakim Mechan, 18-year-old Marquis Stephens, 18-year-old Javonte Neals, 17-year-old Taj Woodruff, 17-year-old Sean Merritt and two 16-year-olds whom police did not name. All seven are from Long Beach.
Last week, an 18-year-old was arrested and charged with murder for his role in Morris' death. Tyler Flach was remanded and granted protective custody by the judge, after Flach's lawyer Edward Sapone said Bloods gang members connected to the victim have been threatening him.
Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said at a news conference Saturday the fight at a strip mall near Oceanside High School started because Morris was with the ex-girlfriend of one of the suspects.
Cops were called to Mario’s Pizzeria and Restaurant in Nassau County on Sept. 16 after reports of a large fight. Authorities say up to 70 teenagers had shown up.
When cops arrived, they found Morris with a knife wound to his chest, and another 17-year-old with a broken arm and swelling to his head, according to Nassau Police.
Authorities say Morris, who was seen with the girl in cellphone video of the fight, did not have a weapon on him.
The seven teens arrested Friday all pleaded not guilty to gang assault charges at their arraignment Saturday in First District Court.
An attorney for one of the 16-year-olds says his client "played no role" in the killing.
Fitzpatrick said the suspects all took part in the attack on Morris. "Each one of them had an active role," he said. "They came with the intention to seriously hurt him. Khaseen got killed as a result."
Family and friends gathered at a funeral service for Morris, who would have turned 17 next month, Saturday in Oceanside.
"[Khaseen] wanted to be a rockstar, this is his moment. Us, as his other siblings, are going to share his moment with everyone," Keyanna Morris, Khaseen's sister, said.
"I feel like Khaseen deserves that: closure. They did the crime, [they] have to pay for it," she said.