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18-year-old ACHS senior stabbed to death in Alexandria shopping center, police say

According to police, the student was stabbed to death during a fight that involved around 30 to 50 people at the Bradlee Shopping Center.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Police are investigating after an 18-year-old Alexandria City High School student was killed during an off-campus fight at the Bradlee Shopping Center. 

Police received a call around 12:26 p.m. to respond to what they called a "large group fight" in the 3600 block of King Street. According to police, the student was critically injured after being stabbed during a fight that involved 30 to 50 people. The student was taken to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries. 

Alexandria City Public Schools identified the student Tuesday evening as Luis Mejia Hernandez, a senior at Alexandria City High School. The letter to ACHS families said Hernandez will be greatly missed by the Titan community, especially the International Academy. 

"On behalf of the entire Titan staff, I would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to Luis’ family and loved ones. Luis will be deeply missed, and will always and forever be a Titan," the letter to the ACHS community reads.

On Wednesday all four campuses of Alexandria City High School will transition to asynchronous virtual learning to allow students and the school community time to grieve and process Hernandez's death. Support teams will also be available for students. Students can text CONNECT to 85511 or call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.

"We need to come together as a community, we have to recognize and protect each other" Alexandria City Police Captain Courtney Ballantine said. "We asked that anybody have any information reference to this incident to please help us so we can put those folks behind where they need to be in custody."

During Tuesday evening's Alexandria City Council meeting Mayor Justin Wilson acknowledged the tragic death of the Alexandria student.

“Today an 18-year-old student at Alexandria City High School did not go home to his parents," Wilson said. "I can’t think of a more horrific thing that can happen in this world. That was this afternoon and later in the day [19] kids in Texas did not go home to their parents.”

The Tuesday stabbing sent the Alexandria City High School into a "secure the building status". All after-school activities were canceled. 

A nearby church, Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill shared a prayer on Facebook for Hernandez and the children killed in Texas: 

"Loving God, Jesus gathered your little ones in his arms and blessed them. Have pity on those who mourn for these children, innocents slaughtered by the violence of our fallen world. Be with us as we struggle with the mysteries of life and death; in our pain, bring your comfort, and in our sorrow, bring your hope and your promise of new life, in the name of Jesus our Savior. Amen."

The church said its chapel will be open Wednesday afternoon for anyone who wants a space to pray.

It also will have special prayers for victims of violence at its Wednesday night service at 6:30 p.m.

Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson posted to Twitter about the incident, saying in part, "The last day has been a painful one for our City." His full statement can be read below:

Police say they are still investigating the incident and request that anyone who may have information on the incident contact the Alexandria Police Department at 703-746-6819 or email Christine.Escobar@alexandriava.gov.

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