Long Beach, Calif. — An elementary school teacher was fatally stabbed while she supervised students playing at recess.
Kellye Taylor, 53, was sitting in Orizaba Park when a man stabbed her in the neck on Friday afternoon. The incident occurred across the street from Huntington Academy, a private K-6th grade school where Taylor was a teacher. Tragically, she was pronounced dead at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach.
With the help of witnesses, the suspect was taken into custody a few blocks from the park, and he is being held on $1 million bail on a charge of suspicion of murder, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police reportedly also recovered a weapon. “As the children played on the jungle gym — part of their ‘Fun Friday’ activities — [the suspect] approached Taylor, who was sitting on a folding chair, from behind and stabbed her, according to Long Beach police Sgt. Aaron Easton.”
None of the children were injured in the attack, Sgt. Easton added. “Several of the other teachers saw what happened and were able to get the students… away from the area… The suspect did not at any time try to approach the children, attack them, or do anything with them.”
Investigators have not identified a motive as yet, but “Police have a suspect in custody and described him as the father of the victim’s grandchildren. The suspect was identified as Steven Brown, 50. The attack occurred — officials theorize — over a custody battle involving the victim’s grandchildren,” according to CBS Los Angeles. Apparently Taylor had custody of the four grandchildren from her daughter’s relationship with the suspect.
Family, friends, and students held a candlelight vigil at the park on Saturday in Taylor’s memory.
“She loved children, and she loved being around children. She loved teaching children, and that’s what she did,” Vanessa Taylor said of her sister,” KABC reports.
The school is temporarily closed while students and teachers mourn.