By Ken Stone
A Helix Charter High School student who tried to help a friend under attack nearly three weeks ago died Sunday of stab wounds, and police are looking for witnesses and potential assailants.
Devin Griffiths, 15, was the victim, according to La Mesa police, who said the matter was being investigated by the Chula Vista Police Department because the incident occurred in that South Bay city.
Griffiths was attending a birthday party at 10:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, in the 900 block of Maria Way when an argument between two teens turned into a fight that moved to the street, witnesses told Chula Vista police. One Facebook post called it a “snapchat party.”
Investigators think witnesses likely used cell phones to record the fight.
At one point during the fight, the victim who wasn’t initially in the argument was seen trying to help a friend being attacked by several young men, Lt. Dan Peak said Tuesday.
When Griffiths intervened, he was stabbed in his upper body.
The attacking group fled in at least two unknown vehicles, Peak said. The group is thought to have consisted of eight to 15 people, mostly young men but also women.
All were described as either Hispanic or white between 17 and 20.
The Chula Vista Police Department responded to the scene and Griffiths was transported to UCSD Medical Center with critical injuries. Officers interviewed several partygoers who provided limited information, Peak said.
On Sunday, he said, Griffiths passed away with his family at his side. On Wednesday night, a vigil was held near the entrance to Helix Charter High School, where the father spoke.
Chula Vista PD: Helix High teen died being a Good Samaritan https://t.co/3pIKkRnJk4
— CBS News 8 (@CBS8) February 20, 2020
Chula Vista police are asking anyone with information, video of the incident or working exterior cameras around the 900 block of Maria Way to contact the Chula Vista Police Department at (619) 691-5178 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.
Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest in this case. Visit the Crime Stoppers website for more information on how to send anonymous web and mobile app tips.
A GoFundMe appeal has raised more than $10,000 to help the family.
“He was a Hero and will also be able to carry on by helping others with being a donor,” wrote Brandi Wilson of Lakeside, the fundraiser organizer. Griffith’s father, Lee, was a single dad, according to the post.
“My brother doesn’t want you to cry anymore as Devin is up there in heaven playing football and dancing around with all of the angels that [passed before] him,” she wrote. “Just like his buddy said to him last night — he gets to play basketball with his favorite player and his daughter. How amazing is that!”
Angelique Gianas, an English teacher at Helix in La Mesa, said Griffiths was in her class as a freshman and sophomore.
“He is so special and has been such a light in my life since I met him a year ago,” she posted on GoFundMe. “He always walks into my class with a smile on his face and goes out of his way to tell me how much he enjoys having me as his English teacher.”
On Wednesday, a school spokeswoman said officials learned of the death Tuesday morning and the Helix Crisis Team sent an email to parents and guardians that began: “It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that one of our 10th grade students has died. Our thoughts and sympathies are with their family and friends. We ask that you please respect and honor the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
Jennifer Osborn, the spokeswoman, said a member of the Student Support Team attended Griffith’s classes to inform classmates and teachers of the passing and services available on campus.
“If your student needs assistance or support regarding this or any other social-emotional issue, please contact their Grade Level Team or the Helix Wellness Center at extension 395,” the letter said.
“The Wellness Center staff will be prepared to support students throughout the grieving process during the next several weeks,” the letter said, adding: “If you or a family member needs support, you can reach a trained professional 24 hours-a-day at SD Access & Crisis Line 1-888-724-7240.”
Updated at 11:33 p.m. Feb. 19, 2020
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