Natchitoches student dies from head trauma; alleged attacker charged with manslaughter

Natchitoches student dies from head trauma; alleged attacker charged with manslaughter

The 18-year-old Natchitoches student who was left fighting for his life after an incident at school has died Tuesday morning.

Natchitoches Police have confirmed that Johnquaries Smith died Tuesday afternoon at University Health Shreveport after having been airlifted to the hospital Monday afternoon.

The teen's family said he was on the honor roll at school, and was a popular student who cared about life. He wore #53 on his high school football jersey.

Smith was flown in Monday from a Natchitoches hospital with life-threatening injuries. According to police, Smith was injured about 12:30 p.m. at Natchitoches Central High School when he 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. His family said the teen's skull was fractured in two places and his brain hemorrhaged due to his fall.

The loss is compounded for Smith's family, as UHS is the same hospital where his mother passed away from Leukemia in 2002. Smith lived with his grandmother.

The alleged attacker had been arrested on a charge of second-degree battery, and was being held at Ware Detention Center in Coushatta. Police said he was brought back to their station and is now charged with manslaughter.

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. The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's office will decide whether to charge the attacker as an adult, police said.

Smith's family said they forgive the accused attacker but they want justice. Smith's uncle said he met with school leaders at NCHS about increasing security on the campus. According to Smith's uncle, school leaders said they have enough security in place.

KSLA News 12 is in Natchitoches and we will update you as soon as we know more.

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