KENTWOOD (WWJ/AP) – A 9-year-old boy who was stabbed by a 12-year-old boy at a playground in western Michigan has died, according to police.
The incident happened around 6 p.m. Monday at the Pinewood Village Mobile Home Park in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids.
Police say 9-year-old Michael Conner Verkerke was repeatedly stabbed in the back with a kitchen knife. He ran home and collapsed on his porch before an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital, where he died from his injuries.
The reason for the stabbing wasn’t immediately clear.
“According to witnesses, four children were playing in the playground area when one of the children, for an unknown reason, pulled out a knife and repeatedly stabbed one of the other children,” Kentwood Police Chief Thomas Hillen told WWJ’s Chrystal Knight.
Witness Glen Stacey told reporters that he was doing lawn work nearby when he was approached by the 12-year-old, who asked to use his phone.
“I gave him my phone and I heard him tell the 911 operator, ‘I just stabbed someone. Come and get me. I want to die.’ It was just a sad situation,” Stacey told WZZM, adding that the boy was “very calm.”
Stacey said the boy mentioned that he was upset because nobody loved him, and that he had taken multiple pills earlier in the day.
When police arrived on the scene, Stacy said they first went to aid the stabbing victim, prompting the older boy to yell to police, “Hello. I’m right here. You’re going the wrong way.”
When officers went back to Stacey’s yard, where the stabbing suspect was standing, the boy allegedly walked toward them with his hands out, as if he was ready to be placed in handcuffs, Stacey said.
Police brought the 12-year-old boy to a hospital for evaluation before taking him to the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center, pending charges.
“There will be an autopsy performed today and then at some point, the prosecutor’s office will review this to determine if this is going to be a juvenile crime or will this person be waived as an adult,” Hillen said. “There’s a lot of things to look into, certainly the background and what precipitated this, and I’m sure we’ll come to the understanding of how and why this happened.”
It wasn’t immediately clear if the children knew each other. According to reports, the older boy does not live at the mobile home park.
“We’re still investigating this, trying to put some pieces into here as to how and why this occurred,” Hillen said. “It would appear that the suspect did not know the other three children, but we’re looking into that a little closer to make sure that’s correct.”
The incident remains under investigation.
“It’s one of these tragedies that affects not only the Kentwood community but the community at large because it involves a young child and all of us who have children are just stunned and left wondering why. We hope to, in the next coming days, get to the bottom of that,” Hillen said.
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