A man entered a school playground at recess this afternoon and stabbed a 7-year-old girl, leaving her in critical condition. While second-grade students were at recess, the man walked onto the schoolyard and approached the girl on the playground at the World of Wonder pre-K school in Dayton, Ohio. The suspect is described as 18 to 20 years of age and just under six feet tall, dressed in athletic shorts, and a beige or green sweatshirt over an orange shirt. Police tried to track the man throughout the neighborhood with a police dog, but their attempts were unsuccessful. They were unclear on a motive of why the man stabbed the little girl but are continuing the investigation.
Police say the 2nd-grade girl was stabbed by the man, apparently a stranger, while playing on the playground swings. A parent of students at the school, Charmine Blunt, was at the school at the time, according to a report by WDTN News. She said she had been waiting inside the gym when the commotion on the playground began.
“All of the sudden we just hear the kids screaming and running. We were like what’s going on what’s going on. And they said a little girl got stabbed so we all run out here to see what’s going on and it was a guy with some blue shorts on.”
Crime reports on the Dayton Police website list 26 violent crimes within a half mile of the school in the past two months, including one murder, six aggravated assaults, and three robberies. Residents say they are aware their neighborhood is a high-crime area but were shocked that such a random, vicious attack would be made on a little girl at a playground. James Frusher III works close to the school and he agreed.
“For this neighborhood, when something happens in the news or something bad, it’s usually shootings or drug-related and adults, you know? You don’t hear about grown men running up and stabbing children. It’s a whole new level of crime… It’s astonishing… It makes you sick.”
David Lawrence, spokesman for the Dayton Public Schools, says the school staff reacted quickly to protect the other students on the playground and inside the school. The school was placed on lock-down and students ended up being dismissed early for the day. He says back-up from nearby schools was immediate. He also reports that the school will have additional security on the playground at recess in order to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring again.
Dayton Public Schools Spokesperson David Lawrence says the school immediately took action to protect the other students. Counseling will be made available for the students who saw the girl stabbed on the playground. They will not only provide counseling for students who witnessed the incident, but also for any students who heard about it and feel threatened. The school’s principal, LaDawn Mims-Morrow, also reiterated the promise of extra security any time students are on the playground during the coming schooldays.
A 911 call recorded a school secretary telling dispatchers that “a man stabbed somebody on the playground.” During the call, another employee is heard in the background telling the secretary the girl was “laying face down and the police are here.”
The little girl remains at Dayton Children’s Hospital with serious injuries, according to police. Her name has not been released. The motive has still not been revealed. If you have any information that could help police in the search for the suspect, please contact Dayton Police Department at 333-COPS or (937)222-STOP (7867).
[Photo by Taveesak Pansang/Shutterstock Images]