School stabbing ‘premeditated’
Police say suspect laughed, chased victim in front of classmates at Warren high school
Warren — Tanaya Lanay Lewis smiled and laughed as she chased Danyna Gibson before stabbing her fellow student in front of a horrified class at Fitzgerald High School, a Warren police investigator said as Lewis was charged Friday with first-degree murder.
During a brief hearing in 37th District Court, Judge Suzanne L. Faunce denied bond for Lewis, 17, who was arraigned via video on one count of first-degree murder. Authorities said the slaying of Gibson, 16, was the first to occur inside a school in Macomb County history.
The investigator’s statement added chilling details about what happened Wednesday morning during a second-period economics class.
In front of about 20 students and a teacher, Lewis stabbed Gibson twice in the chest with a straight-edge kitchen knife, striking her once in the heart, the officer said.
Gibson tried to flee but Lewis chased her around the classroom and stabbed her again after the victim fell, this time in the back with a “hammer fist stab,” the investigator said.
The teacher pushed Lewis out of the room, and the girl tried to get back in, saying, “I’m going to kill her,” the officer said.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said there was no altercation between Lewis and Gibson, who were friends, before the attack.
Smith said Lewis’ “background ... her GPA is immaterial to me” as he addressed reporters after the hearing. Smith said Lewis “waited” for her time to attack Gibson.
“This was not a heat of passion. This was not a second-degree murder. This wasn’t an altercation of any sort. This was not ‘I’m going to meet you behind the lockers,’ ” said Smith. “This was premeditated. It was a complete surprise to our victim. There was no previous altercation in the classroom.”
Smith said there are no videos of the fatal stabbing.
“It happened so lightning fast that nobody had any time to get on a phone,” said Smith. The prosecutor said there is “so much investigation” to do on the case. He said he wasn’t sure if there were social media threats prior to the attack but that possibility will be part of the investigation.
Gibson, an honor roll student, died Wednesday at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Madison Heights. Police said there was animosity between the two girls because of a boy they liked.
Lewis’ parents and attorney declined to comment after the hearing. Lewis court Sept. 27.
She could spend up to life behind bars if convicted. Under state law, all 17-year-olds are charged as adults if arrested for any offense.
Meanwhile, classes resumed Friday at Fitzgerald High, with students still trying to make sense of the fatal stabbing.
Sophomore Aaron Williams returned to the school after he and all of its students were sent home after the incident Wednesday morning. The school was also closed Thursday.
The 14-year-old walked to school with his friend Devin Hogan, 13, a freshman who was riding a bike.
Aaron said he is a
cerned about his safety. He said the staff is very strict about security.
“They have things on lockdown,” he said. “They give you tickets for fighting.”
On Thursday at the high school, at least 500 students, staff and parents gathered to honor Gibson.
Aaron and Devin said they had seen the suspect around school but didn’t know her.
Devin said the school’s students are still shocked and continue to talk about it on social media.
“And the friends I’ve talked to said they’re afraid to come,” Devin said.