16-year-old formally charged for fatal stabbing at Harding High School

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Tuesday, charging documents were formally filed in Ramsey County against a 16-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing a 15-year-old last Friday at Harding High School in St. Paul.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office says a delinquency petition has been filed against Nosakhere Kazeem Holmes, who is charged with one count of second-degree murder.

RELATED: Student, 15, fatally stabbed inside Harding High School; suspect in custody

Holmes is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon at the Ramsey County Juvenile and Family Justice Center. Prosecutors add they’re working to certify him as an adult.

According to a statement of probable cause, Devin Scott died at Regions Hospital after lifesaving measures were performed by school staff.

The document goes on to say police interviewed the assistant principal at Harding High School, who saw two students arguing with another student, and then saw them start fighting. Holmes and Scott were identified as two of the students who were involved in the fight.

Multiple staff members arrived, they tried to break up the fight, but once the students were separated, Holmes got off the ground and was holding a knife, and then allegedly stabbed Scott in the stomach before walking away.

Security staff then arrested Holmes and searched him, where they found a bloody knife, according to court documents.

Classes at Harding High School were canceled both Monday and Tuesday but students are expected back on Wednesday.

Tuesday, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi issued the following statement regarding the charge:

“Too often our young people resort to force and violence to resolve conflict, resulting in tragic loss for everyone involved. We need to re-double our efforts to help youth, their families, and our community to address violence involving our young people. As a community, we need to support Superintendent Joe Gothard, and the St. Paul School Board as they engage and listen to students, parents and school staff to find solutions to ensure our schools are as safe as possible. We also encourage leaders to revisit the recommendations of the 2017 Community Task Force Report on Safe Schools, which we convened in partnership with SPPS and other school districts and community stakeholders.”

A news conference was held by St. Paul Public Schools Tuesday afternoon regarding the addition of more security members at the district’s four high schools, as well as at Washington Technology Magnet School.

RELATED: Student safety, mental health top of mind in wake of fatal stabbing at St. Paul high school

It came the day after the district announced the increase of security Monday, putting two officers at Central, Como, Harding and Humboldt schools as well as Washington Technology Magnet School on a short-term basis, as well as a third full-time school support liaison on Harding High School’s security team.

“We have a plan in place for the next five days of the school week,” St. Paul Police Chief Axel Henry said Tuesday. “That obviously isn’t going to evaporate come Friday, this is just buying us some time to look at how we are going to approach this going forward.”

Joe Gothard, the district’s superintendent, said they don’t have any current policies or metal detector equipment, but would be “starting from scratch.”

“There’s no quick solution to that, there’s no quick fix,” said Gothard. “School Resource Officers 2019-2020 doesn’t have to look the same as it does in 2023. So, it’s my expectation and my desire to sit down with all of our partners – the Office of Neighborhood Safety, the St. Paul Police Department – and see if we can redefine what a formal partnership looks like with St. Paul Public Schools.”

The district hasn’t had a contract with the St. Paul Police Department since June of 2020.

“We’re looking to coproduce a model with the school system, with the city, with the Office of Neighborhood Safety, with the police department to figure out how we best bring about all the assets of the city to contribute to safety for our young folks and for everyone for that matter,” added Henry.

RELATED: Effects of violent weekend linger in St. Paul

Tuesday’s full news conference can be found below.

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St. Paul Public Schools also announced that school will be cancelled for Harding High School until Thursday, with students returning to class Friday, which will have a modified schedule and 1:30 p.m. release.

Battle Creek, East View (St. Paul Urban Tennis) and Conway (Sanneh Foundation) Recreation Centers will open at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and will have community partners and food available.

St. Paul Public Libraries will also be open to support students, the school district said.