Fight leaving 18-year-old critically injured raises concerns at Natchitoches Central HS
A Natchitoches Central High School student is listed in critical condition Monday night after being punched at school and sustaining life-threatening injuries as a result.
A student at Natchitoches Central High School is in a Shreveport hospital Monday afternoon suffering from fight-related life-threatening injuries.
Johnquaries Smith, 18, was airlifted to University Health Shreveport from a Natchitoches hospital Monday afternoon with life-threatening injuries.
NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) -
Some Natchitoches parents and students were on edge Monday evening after a student was attacked in their school and is now in the ICU at a Shreveport hospital.
An official at University Hospital Shreveport said that Johnquaries Smith, 18, was transferred from the ER to the Pediatric ICU about 3 or 4 p.m. and said it sounds like the student "may be stabilizing a little bit."
The violence has Smith's classmate scared to go back to school. So scared, she and her mom didn't want to show their faces on camera during an interview Monday afternoon.
"I just feel they would come after me," the friend said. "To know one of our star football players is in the hospital because someone was acting stupid at school, it scares me."
Smith was airlifted to UHS from a Natchitoches hospital Monday afternoon with life-threatening injuries. According to police, it happened about 12:30 p.m. at Natchitoches Central High School when Smith, was allegedly "sucker-punched" by a 16-year-old student. The hit reportedly caused Smith to fall back and hit his head.
Smith was non-responsive when emergency crews took him to a Natchitoches hospital, said Capt. Brad Walker, with the Natchitoches Police Department.
The alleged attacker has been arrested on a charge of second-degree battery, but charges could be upgraded if the victim dies, Walker said. He is being held at Ware Detention Center in Coushatta.
Walker said the fight was not gang-related and there was no fight before it happened. Officers stayed on the campus along with the school resource officer until the end of the school day.
"This appears to be a random act of violence against one person by another single person," Walker said.
According to the NCHS football roster, Smith is on the 14-15 varsity football team in a linebacker position. He is expected to graduate in 2015.
Police have been called out to NCHS for school fights two or three times since school began this year. These are separate from having the SRO already on the campus, he said, adding that violence is not any more of a problem at Natchitoches Central than it is anywhere else.
"It's the minimum overall picture," Walker said. "It's not like a war zone like many make it out to be, it's not."
Natchitoches Schools Superintendent Jesse Skinner said the high school has had two fights since the start of the 2014-2015 school year, a typical amount for the beginning of a school year.
"The first week when there are 16 fights, that's not normal," the student said. "I hate to put it this way, but he's not telling what needs to be told."
Skinner could not confirm how many students have been suspended for fighting so far this year, but said the same number have been suspended as there have been fights.
The school system takes fights very seriously and students caught fighting receive an automatic five-day suspension and are arrested, Skinner said.
As for Monday's fight, Skinner said he knows the victim "isn't in good shape," but would not provide further details.