A 16-year-old Connecticut honors student was stabbed to death in a school stairwell Friday allegedly by a fellow student after she turned down his invitation to tonight's junior prom, according to local media reports.
Maren Sanchez, a junior at Jonathan Law high school in Milford, died of neck injuries at Bridgeport Hospital, police said.
A 16-year-old classmate was arrested by a school guard and later charged with murder as a juvenile offender. Police did not release his name because he is a minor.
Milford Police Chief Keith Mello said at a news conference that a school staff member witnessed part of the attack and tried to stop it. Others also join in the effort, he said.
"There was blood on her neck. It was awful," Sam Garcia, a junior at the school, tells the Hartford Courant. "I saw the girl lying on the stretcher when they took her out."
Students say that the attacker, after being spurned over the prom invitation, allegedly tried to strangle the girl, then pushed her down the stairs before stabbing her in the throat, Connecticut News 12 reports.
At a news conference, school officials described Sanchez as a well-liked honors student and athlete.
School principal Fran Thompson emailed a note to students, saying she was informing them of Sanchez's death "with a heavy heart."
"Maren, a junior, was everything right with Jonathan Law. An honor student, active member of our school community and incredible young woman, her time with us was much too short but her spirit will be with us forever," the message said, according to the New Haven Register.
Milford Mayor Benjamin G. Blake said in a statement that "Our hearts go out to the family of Maren Sanchez ... nd to those also affected by this tragedy."
Sanchez posted a photo of herself in a new dress ont the JLHS Prom Dresses 2014 Facebook group page on March 3. She added a note: "Yay, So excited!"
School officials postponed tonight's prom, which was to be held at a banquet hall in nearby Stratford.
The school was placed on lock down for two hours following the attack, which occurred shortly after 7 a.m. ET, the Connecticut Post reports.