In Partnership with The 74

UTLA helping raise money for family of boy killed at middle school

Craig Clough | January 28, 2015



Steven Cruz

Steven Cruz

UTLA, the teachers union, is helping raise money for the family of a 14-year-old boy who was killed outside Griffith Middle School in east LA last week. The family is seeking donations to help pay for his funeral expenses and remains short of the $15,000 needed as of today.

Steven Cruz, a student at nearby Garfield High School, was on Griffith school grounds meeting a friend after school when he was attacked by another student and stabbed, according to media reports.

The attack occurred around 3:10 p.m. Friday and Cruz was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead at 3:48 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported. A suspect, who turned out to be a 13-year-old boy, was arrested the next day and charged yesterday with murder. His name has not been released because he is a juvenile.

The suspect is a possible gang member, but friends of Cruz said he had no gang ties and police have yet to release what the motive for the attack may have been, according to ABC7. Before the stabbing the suspect reportedly asked Cruz where he was from, which is a common tactic used by LA-area gang members to determine someone’s gang affiliation or to claim certain turf as their own.

UTLA has posted a link on its website and Facebook page to help raise awareness for the fundraising campaign, with a note reading: “Our thoughts and prayers go to the Cruz family after this unthinkable tragedy that occurred at Griffith MS on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.”

The GoFundMe campaign for Cruz includes a message from his family that says the teen was “in the wrong place, at the wrong time.” It also reads, “He pursued everything with enthusiasm and that’s what is so memorable of him. His enthusiasm, his energy, and his laugh would always make your day. If you were having a bad day, he was able to make you laugh.”

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