Victim's mother and police speak out about deadly teen stabbing at Jaycee Park
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
A deadly stabbing at Jaycee Park in Springfield kills one teen, and now another is facing charges of murder. The Coroner's office says the victim was just 15-years-old.
Parks are "kid-friendly zones" but a Sunday night incident left one child killed, and another behind bars.
"Well it's just a horrible incident,” said Springfield Police’s Chief Winslow. “Just a true tragedy."
Officials say young Robert Wheeler, was in a brawl with a 16-year-old boy, Sunday night around 8:20 p.m.
“The investigation reveals,” said Chief Winslow. “The two subjects got into a confrontation over a female that led to the stabbing."
The Wheeler family spent Monday gathered around the makeshift memorial marking the spot where their boy was stabbed. There were still blood spots on the park grounds where the family dabbed white t-shirts. They said it was their way of keeping their boy close.
Residents in the area say it's heartbreaking.
"They won't get the chance to see their young man being all that he can be,” said Tony Glasco. “And the other one that’s going to be in jail."
This follows several Springfield juvenile cases.
In May, a 12-year-old accidentally shot and killed a 13-year-old.
In June, five people were arrested for the shooting death of a teen at Comer Cox Park.
"Juvenile crime is a problem and across the country,” said Chief Winslow. “And it's just a horrible, tragic incident that people don't value life enough."
Some residents hope for more education in school and at home.
"Very sad that young kids are dying today,” said a resident near Jaycee Park, Shawna Davis. “It's not stopping, so we need to stop and talk to the kids, so they can stop the violence."
The 16-year-old suspect is now facing charges of murder, unlawful use of a weapon, and aggravated battery.
"Hopefully no more violence,” said Chief Winslow. “A young person who had a world of opportunity in front of them is now deceased. It's just a horrible no-win situation for everybody; it's their family, it's their brothers lost, it's their sons lost, and it's just unfortunate."
The victim's mother said her son didn't grow up with much, but he never asked for anything.
She's heartbroken about her own loss, and for the other boy's family.
She said her message is for the younger generation to stop the violence.