NEW YORK (AP) — An afterschool fight between two high schoolers on a street near Manhattan's Theater District escalated to a violent stabbing Wednesday that left four boys slashed.
The suspect, a 16-year-old in a red hat, fled the scene and police were searching for him, said Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. The fight broke out between two teenage boys who had been suspended last week; it was their first day back to school, and they met outside to fight after dismissal, Boyce said.
The school is around the corner from the new Broadway production of "Groundhog Day," as well as the revival of "Cats."
As the 16-year-old beat the 15-year-old, three others jumped in and they were all stabbed, authorities said. The 15-year-old suffered the most serious injuries, with wounds to his back, and he was in surgery, Boyce said. A second 16-year-old boy was stabbed in the stomach, a 17-year-old boy was slashed on his ear and an 18-year-old was wounded in the arm. Authorities say they suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Witness Sherri Hodes told The Associated Press the fight happened fast.
"One guy was punching another guy. And he got him on the ground, and he was punching him and punching him. He was screaming at some other guys. People were running. So much was happening," she said.
Boyce said it's not clear what prompted the fight or the brawl last week that led to their suspension. He said it didn't appear to be gang-related, but it was under investigation.
A knife was recovered in a backpack near the scene.
The school, Public School 35, has 306 students from first to 12th grades and includes special education.
A spokeswoman for the city's Department of Education said it was working closely with police.
"The safety of students and staff is our top priority," the spokeswoman said.