NBC NEWS – A teenager has been arrested in the stabbing death of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors in a New York City park, according to two senior law enforcement officials.
The official told NBC New York that the person in custody is suspected to have participated in the crime, and the New York City Police Department was still searching for other suspects who might be connected to the murder. It was not immediately clear what role the arrested suspect may have played in the crime.
“During the struggle, one of the individuals pulled out a knife and stabbed her several times,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said Thursday. “She staggered her way up the street. One of the security guards saw her and called 911.”
She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Police were questioning two teens, with their guardians present, Thursday, but they were later released, according to the NYPD.
Investigators believed they were seeking between one and three suspects, one of whom stabbed Majors, in what Barnard officials said was an attempted robbery.
A law enforcement source told NBC New York that a witness saw a group of people running from where Majors was found by a security guard. A text alert sent to Barnard students said one male suspect was wearing a green jacket and a hat.
A $2,500 reward is offered for anyone who provides helpful information in the case.
Students at Barnard, a women’s college affiliated with Columbia University, gathered to mourn Majors Thursday night, and a memorial near Morningside Park continued to grow Friday morning.
Majors played in a band and had recently played her first gig in New York City, according to her Instagram. She graduated from St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville this year before beginning at Barnard, according to an obituary in the Augusta Free Press, where she interned in spring.
“Tess was a light that shined brightly and our hearts will never be the same,” the Majors family said in a statement. “She was very special and very loved.”
“The passing of Tess Majors is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core. We are all grieving, and trying to grasp the senseless tragedy that took Tess from us,” Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock said during Thursday night’s gathering.
Beilock shared that when asked why she wanted to attend Barnard, Majors wrote: “As an avid feminist, I have striven towards bridging my community gender divide by being outspoken in my classes, taking an intensive course on social justice, and campaigning for a congressional candidate. I enjoy taking difficult classes and feel invigorated when forced outside of my intellectual comfort zone. I embrace the culture of positivity and growth at Barnard.”
“And Tess did — embrace the Barnard culture full on,” Beilock said.