Eight teenagers have been charged with murder after the fatal beating of a fellow student, who agreed to fight the group in a row over stolen wireless headphones.
Jonathan Lewis, 17, was set upon by a mob of 10 on November 1. He died in hospital on November 7, and on Tuesday the charges were announced.
Lt. Jason Johansson of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said all the people involved — believed to be 10 — were students of Rancho High School.
Johansson described a viral video showing the beating as ‘void of humanity’.
Lewis’s father said he ‘can’t watch’ the video of the brutal attack.
Johansson said that a citizen found Lewis unresponsive after the beating, which happened in an alleyway near the school, and brought him back to the school.
Lewis was taken to UMC where doctors determined that he had suffered ‘non-survivable head trauma.’
He said that 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 involved agreed to meet in the alley to fight, according to police.
‘As soon as a punch is thrown, ten subjects immediately swarm him,’ he said. He added that the department was able to identify approximately ten subjects that were involved in the murder and eight of those have been ‘positively identified’ as suspects.
Jonathan Lewis Sr said he is still waiting for answers over why arrests have not been made following the alleged beating death of his son, Jonathan Lewis Jr
Jonathan Lewis, 17, died on November 1, the day after he was swarmed by a gang of bullies and ‘beaten to death’
Lewis Sr, who lives in Austin, Texas, said his son was targeted in the melee after rushing to help another student being picked on by the bullies.
Noting there are ‘other videos that have not been released to the public’ that offer a different look at the incident, he said Jonathan was initially attacked by a few students who the 17-year-old shook off ‘because he was so strong.’
‘But then all the other kids joined in and beat him to death after that,’ he added to NewsNation.
A large percentage of the mob appear to be black, leading to some incendiary comments about the attack being racially motivated, despite no evidence to suggest that it was.
Lewis Sr condemned the racist reactions some have had to the footage, which he branded ‘a disgrace to my son’s memory’.
He added to the Review Journal that he is demanding justice and accountability to those involved, and claimed the mob of bullies have been involved in other similar incidents.
‘This is not a one-off, no. We know that there was another incident the Tuesday before that with these exact kids,’ he said.
Clark County School District Police Department spokesperson Lt. Bryan Zink did not confirm that the footage was of Lewis’ attack, but said it should serve as a horrifying reminder of the dangers of school bullying.
‘Parents have got to step up and talk to their kids,’ he said. ‘It’s just really sad.’
Officials in the school district have been warning about physical bullying for months – and Clark County school police have confiscated 20 guns and 52 knives so far this year.
Jonathan Lewis Sr condemned the brutal attack, but said some racist reactions from those online is a ‘disgrace to my son’s memory’
Shocking footage of the attack shared to social media saw around 15 bullies attack a student, purported to be Jonathan Lewis, 17. Police have not officially verified the footage
As the violent scenes escalate, all out chaos ensues as the victim lays on the ground, beaten until he is unconscious
Footage was also shot from an additional cellphone which has since been posted to X
After Jonathan is knocked to the ground, one of his friends attempts to intervene and stop the brutal attack before making a run for it
Lewis Sr has since set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of his son’s untimely death, and he said the proceeds – which has topped $65,000 – will be split between Jonathan’s mothers and father’s families.
Amid calls for accountability over Lewis’ death, the school district said in a statement to parents that it is declining to provide additional information as the investigation is ongoing, but that it ‘grieves the loss of every student.’
‘While we can not provide additional information, as this is an active police investigation, please know that District leadership and School Police are working with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the District Attorney’s office so those involved are held accountable for their actions,’ the statement said.
‘CCSD does not tolerate violence or threats to students or their safety,’ the statement continued.
‘We all must come together as a community to address the needs of our students so disagreements are resolved through dialogue rather than violence.’
After it emerged that Lewis Jr suffered the attack because he was standing up for another student, the father said he was proud of Jonathan’s actions.
‘Jonathan knew the strength of love, that’s what we teach in our family,’ he continued.
‘Love is the greatest strength and we protect our family members, and have a deep sense of community, and I think that just inspired him to do so.’
When asked why law enforcement have not moved quickly, he said he has been in ‘close contact’ with Las Vegas police, but has been frustrated with how the investigation has moved.
‘They haven’t given me a reason that they haven’t made an arrest yet,’ he said, adding that detectives remain working ‘diligently.’
‘I can tell you that I sat down with these detectives and they’re very highly effective at their work, there’s a lot of other unique factors involved.
‘Unfortunately the school gathered a bunch of these kids, even though they were told not to, and you know I think they were just trying to help but that ended up causing a lot of problems, so the investigation got more complex.’
The teen’s father said his heroic actions helping another bullied student may have been fueled by his family’s military service
According to the fundraiser set up after Lewis’ death, which cites the teen’s girlfriend, his decision to leap into action was because the other bullied student he helped was far smaller, and had items stolen from him by the group.
Written when Jonathan was still on life support, the page described him as ‘a kind, loving, gentle young man who has the heart of a champion and the brightest loving energy that attracts people to him with love.’
‘He’s an aspiring artist, devoted big brother, and a fierce protector of love ones!
‘We are so grateful for all the love and community support that has poured in for our son and hope that the world will focus on all that love and compassion as a beacon of hope for human relations and place recognition upon how much stronger the love and the spirit of community is than the dark moments of violence.
‘Love wins our son is a champion of love and family and the resilient spirit of human perseverance and will to be good and kind and loving!’