Teen beaten to death near high school; 8 teens arrested, 2 sought, police say

Las Vegas police arrest 8 suspects ages 13-17 for murder in teen’s beating death
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:57 AM EST
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LAS VEGAS (KVVU/Gray News) - The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday announced they are asking for the public’s help in identifying two “persons of interest” in the beating death of a local teen.

Police on Tuesday announced that the department had arrested eight juveniles — all between 13-17 years of age — after a high school student was severely beaten and later died from his injuries.

In a news conference Tuesday, Las Vegas Metro Police Department said the eight suspects will be charged with murder in connection with Lewis’ death.

During the briefing, officers said they were still searching for two individuals in connection with the incident. The department has posted video as they seek help identifying the additional two people.

Homicide Lt. Jason Johansson shared at about 2:05 p.m. Nov. 1, a fight had occurred in an alley next to Rancho High School just after school let out. According to Johannson, a resident found the victim, 17-year-old Jonathan Lewis unresponsive after the beating and brought him back to the school.

Police responded to a battery call and found a student who was “battered and bleeding from the head.”

Police said Lewis was taken to UMC where doctors determined that he had suffered “non-survivable head trauma.” Lt. Johansson referenced a video of the beating that has circulated on social media, calling it “void of humanity.”

According to police, the fight was over a pair of stolen wireless headphones and possibly a vape pen, which were taken from friends of the victim. All parties had involved agreed to meet in the alley to fight, according to police.

“As soon as a punch is thrown, ten subjects immediately swarm him,” Johansson said.

There’s a high likelihood that there’s additional video out there that we don’t have,” he said, imploring anyone with information about the beating to contact the department immediately.

“Please don’t put your head in the sand,” he added regarding the topic of discussing the incident with children. He also said that there is “no evidence at this time” that the murder was a hate crime.

The lieutenant said that an autopsy was performed on the victim on Monday. Lewis donated his organs.

The boy’s father said that multiple members of his family have served in the military, and added that “this horrific tragedy is reflective of the divisive, conflict-based, uncaring state that our society and humanity is currently facing with how we interact with our community.”

He added that the family denounces violence “as a means to sociological conflict.” Information about a GoFundMe campaign for Jonathan is available here.

On Wednesday afternoon, as classes ended for the day and students were leaving campus, a small memorial with flowers and eight candles sat against a fence in the alleyway where Lewis was killed.

Rancho High School principal Darlin Delgado said in a letter this week to parents that support and resources were available for students and staff members as the beating “has and will continue to impact our school community.”

Anyone with any information about these two individuals is asked to contact the LVMPD Homicide Section by phone at 702-828-3521, or by email at homicide@lvmpd.com. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 702-385-5555, or on the internet at www.crimestoppersofnv.com.