Radicalized Teenager Who Murdered 13-Year-Old Was Under Investigation
Palm Beach Gardens, FL – A 17-year-old boy, who had previously been investigated for his “violent tendencies,” stabbed three people, one of them fatally, early Monday morning during a sleepover at a friend’s house.
Corey Johnson told police he committed the crime because of his Muslim faith.
Police said Johnson had been arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder after he went on a stabbing rampage that left a 13-year-old boy dead on his birthday, WPLG reported.
Using a knife he had bought the day before and brought with him from home, Johnson stabbed 13-year-old Jovanni Sierra multiple times, and slit his throat, police said.
Kyle’s mother, Elaine Simon, heard the disturbance around 6 a.m. and went upstairs to see what was going on.
Police said Johnson lunged at Simon, and stabbed her at least a dozen times before she fell down the stairs, according to FOX News.
"Elaine heard what she believed to be Jovanni moaning and went upstairs to see what was going on," Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Jennifer Brashear wrote in the probable cause affidavit. "As she got to the top of the stairs, Johnson lunged at her with a knife, cutting her multiple times."
Kyle’s 13-year-old brother, Dane Bancroft, tried to help his mother, and was stabbed 32 times in the process, the Palm Beach Post reported.
After escaping the clutches of Johnson, Simon ran out of the house and to a neighbor for help.
"She rang my bell she’s bleeding," the neighbor told FOX News. "Corey Johnson is out there with a knife. He’s a murderer. That’s all I know. They're trying to help the kid the kids filled with blood."
Johnson barricaded himself in a room briefly, but was taken into custody by the city’s SWAT team at about 8 a.m., the Palm Beach Post reported.
Sierra was pronounced dead at the scene. Dane Bancroft and Simon were transported to the hospital, police said.
Johnson told police he murdered the 7th grader because Jovanni had idolized celebrities and thought of them as “gods,” something that he claimed deeply offended his Muslim sensibilities, according to WPLG.
The teen also told police he felt that Dane Bancroft had made fun of his Muslim faith, the police’s affidavit read.
He told police he read the Quran on his phone to boost his courage for the attack, WPLG reported.
Kyle Bancroft told police that he and Johnson had frequently watched videos online about Muslim jihadists.
The affidavit said the “videos are extreme and encourage death to non-believers,” according to WPLG.
Critics were questioning whether this was another example of authorities ignoring the warning signs of an impending attack after it became public that the school district, the Jupiter Police Department, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had received disturbing tips about Johnson before his sleepover rampage.
Jupiter Police Interim Chief Clint Shannon said Jupiter police, Palm Beach County School District police, and the FBI previously investigated Johnson for “alleged violent tendencies” that they received through “intelligence gathering” in the northern part of the county, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Ahead of Monday’s stabbings, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office had received information that Johnson had reached out to ISIS online and expressed his desire to join the terror group, so authorities tracked Johnson’s social media accounts and movements, and interviewed his family, FOX News reported.
Police said that a week before the fatal sleepover, Johnson was being investigated for several threats that had prompted evacuations at a British school in October of 2016.
Authorities had planned to file charges against the teenager for international school threats a week before the sleepover rampage, but did not, FOX News reported.
On Tuesday, Judge Daliah H. Weiss ordered Johnson held without bond in a juvenile detention center while a grand jury determined whether to charge him as an adult, the Palm Beach Post reported.