SPRING, Texas – One student was killed and at least three others were hurt during a fight at Spring High School early Wednesday.
The 17-year-old victim, whose name has not been released, was stabbed to death.
Deaveon Brazil,16, was flown by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Brazil, a junior, was upgraded from critical to good condition a few hours later, the hospital confirmed.
Two other students were injured, according to a telephone alert to parents around three hours after the fight. They were taken to Houston Northwest Medical Center.
Three "persons of interest" – all Spring High School students—are in custody, according to Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. He said no other arrests were expected.
Students said the victims were stabbed during a gang fight in or near the school’s cafeteria.
Sheriff Garcia said there was a confrontation and investigators are working to determine if rival gangs were involved.
The incident was reported shortly after 7 a.m. at the school near I-45 and Cypresswood Drive.
The school remained on lockdown and hundreds of parents who rushed to the scene were kept away from the campus for the next six hours.
Chelitha Brady managed to get inside the school to check on her daughter after getting a terrifying phone call from her.
"She said, 'Mom, the young man just fell dead on me,'" Brady said. "She said, "Momma, it was some guys, they went to fightin' and they went to stabbin... You just got to come, you just got to come.'"
Brady said her first priority is to get counseling from her daughter, who was very shaken up by what she witnessed.
"And to see what I can do as far as getting her out of Spring High School because it could have been my child because the stabbing was right there before her eyes," Brady said.
Other angry parents said they planned to home school their children.
Many parents outside communicated with their children inside by phone and text messages to confirm they were OK.
The district finally sent out a phone alert to parents just after 10 a.m. confirming the death and injuries. The alert mentioned a lockdown, but did not say anything about releasing students. That finally happened around 1 p.m. District officials said they kept them the students inside because many of them witnessed the deadly fight and police wanted to question them.
Parents were frustrated by the lack of information from Spring ISD.
KHOU 11 News Reporter Jeremy Desel spoke with parents who gathered at a Sonic across the street from the school.
"Well, number one we’re concerned about our kids. One of my kids was kind of there in the area when they seen it and they’re frantic and scared, and here the police are telling us to move our vehicles," Kenneth said. "(My son) told me that he was scared and he wants to come home. We can all understand at this point, right?"
The father said his son described the scene to him, saying the incident appeared to happen in a back hallway.
"They were walking out of the area when it happened, but they sent pictures to me of all the blood everywhere. All they texted and told me was one died and, out of the total, five were stabbed. All students." Parents of the students who were affected have all been notified, administrators said.
The worried father said he had three kids—one freshman and two seniors—at the school and he shared what he was going to say to his kids when he could finally wrap his arms around them.
"That I love them, that I was there, even though I couldn’t get them," he said through tears.
Gabrielle Whitlock, a parent and former Spring ISD teacher, was among those frustrated by the way the district handled the incident.
"Why aren’t they out here? I’ve been out here trying to console parents because I’ve been though those lockdown drills, I know exactly what is going on inside that building," Whitlock said. "This is Dr. Draper’s fault. When is he going to get a reality check that we have discipline issues? There’s a hundred kids in this school that cause problems and 1,400 that are good kids in here."
Whitlock said she taught the student who was killed. His name hasn’t been released.
"I’m angry and I am hurt that a school district and a school that I love, that I came back to teach at, that I had to leave because of the stress of kids like this," Whitlock said. "I love teaching, that was my passion and now I see something like this, I am angry and I am hurt. My son is sitting in English class and this is his second week of high school? Where are the administrators?"
Whitlock summed up the shared frustration of many Spring ISD families.
"There’s not a single parent out here that wants their kid going to this school, but we can’t move and so we’re stuck with this."
Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Ralph Draper later said the initial lack of information was due to security concerns.
He promised parents they would "flood them with information" now that the danger has passed.
"In my nearly 30-year career, this is one thing that you pray never happens," Dr. Draper said. "Please remember these children."