Joanna Ramos, 11, died shortly after a fight with a classmate Feb. 24. Photo: KNBC-TV.
An 11-year-old girl from Long Beach, Calif. died Friday evening, just hours after fighting a classmate in an alley outside her school.
Friends have left flowers, candles and letters at Willard Elementary in memory of the victim, Joanna Ramos, but her family remains in shock over the tragedy.
“I want to know what happened,” her mother, Cecilia Villanueva told KNBC-TV. “We took her to the hospital but it was too late. She was in a coma.”
According to classmates, the fight was over a boy and preplanned during an after-school program. The girls met in a nearby alley along with a group of classmates. While authorities have said the weapon-less fight lasted about a minute and was not particularly violent, Joanna was left with a bloody nose and a headache.
“She was crying and saying her head was hurting,” classmate Justin Robert King Jr. told an ABC reporter. “She said to the supervisor, the principal on call, she told them that my head was hurting and then she called the parents and the parents took her to the hospital,”
Joanna was unconscious and not breathing when she reached the hospital at 5:50 p.m. and was pronounced dead three hours later.
Local police stressed the unusual nature of the incident and cautioned linking the death directly to the fight until the coroner reports come out later this week.
“I think it’s safe to say this is definitely an isolated incident,” Police spokeswoman Nancy Pratt said. “I personally don’t hear of 11-year-old fights like this, especially girls. I can’t say they never happen but I think everyone was completely caught off-guard by this event.”
Police have interviewed the other girl involved in the altercation but said no arrest have been made in the continuing investigation.
At a Saturday press conference, local officials said crisis-management counselors will be at the school on Monday to aid students.
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