The ex-boyfriend of a teenage girl who was stabbed to death at a South Gate High School has been charged with her murder.
Cindi Santana, 17, was stabbed during an on-campus attack Friday, following an argument. She died later at a hospital Friday night after complications from surgery, authorities said.
Abraham Lopez, 18, is expected to be arraigned tomorrow on a charge of murder. He has been held without bail at the Men's Central Jail in Downtown L.A.
Three days before the stabbing, Lopez was already in jail. According to a document released by the District Attorney's office, Lopez threatened to distribute intimate photos of Santana and beat up her sister's husband. South Gate Police arrested him for making threats but released him a day later,. the D.A. citing that the threats were not specific, and did not show immediacy.
LA Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy says he wishes police would have told the district about the arrest and the release so it could have taken steps to protect Santana.
"We certainly would like to have known the specifics that were in the document, that could have been helpful to us," Deasy said.
It was Santana's mother who told South East High School officials about Lopez's arrest. Deasy says school police were looking out for him on campus. However, Lopez did not show up at school for several days until the lunchtime attack. Some parents called for more security but Deasy says the options are limited.
"We cannot nor are we equipped to do things like in the airport, where no one can enter the building without that kind of screening, that is not how 1,014 schools are set up... you would have to have students line up at four-thirty in the morning, in order to get into campus." Deasy said.
Counselors were at the school Monday. A memorial with candles and flowers was placed at the entrance to the school.
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Parents and students also noticed a police presence at the school.
"I can't believe it. It can't even sink into my head," a student at the memorial Sunday told NBC4.
Comments on Lopez's Facebook page were directed at his ex-girlfriend, classmates said.
Among the comments posted two days before the stabbing: "...the fact that you denied what we had in front of your mom and my sis' is what is breaking me the most. You had something good and you threw it away. I hope you soon realize."
Witness accounts of the attack painted a picture of an argument that escalated to violence. Lopez grabbed Santana and placed her in a headlock as several people tried to stop the attack in a school courtyard, witnesses told investigators.
Jorge Garcia, an 11th-grade varsity football player, and a female dean also were stabbed or cut while trying to stop the attack, school police said.
An inmate matching Lopez's name and birthday was arrested last Sunday for making criminal threats and was released on Tuesday, just days before he allegedly stabbed his girlfriend, according to jail documents.