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Northeast Middle School stabbing

Kansas City police responded to a stabbing Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at Northeast Middle School, 4904 Independence Ave. Arriving officers found Manuel J. Guzman, 14, stabbed in a bathroom. He was taken to hospital where he died later that day. Another student was arrested and charged with first degree murder in Jackson County Juvenile Court.

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Vicenta Guzman sifted through the stack of photos one by one, each depicting a different moment in her son’s life: Manuel on the football team, wearing a new outfit at a local skate site, sporting a chef’s hat after baking a cupcake.

“He always has a smile on his face,” Guzman said.

On Tuesday, 14-year-old Manuel Guzman was stabbed by another student at Northeast Middle School in Kansas City. He was transported to Children’s Mercy in critical condition, but died later that day.

The student who allegedly stabbed him was charged with first degree murder, criminal action with a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon in Jackson County Juvenile Court. His identity has not been revealed.

Guzman, 33, has spent the past two days mourning the death of her only son. She also wondered how a student could get a gun at a school with metal detectors at the entrance, a clear backpack policy, and a student resource officer and security guard.

“I don’t understand how it’s a school with over 500 students and they only have two security guards,” Guzman said.

“I want justice for my child. He didn’t deserve to be stabbed six times.

Kansas City Public Schools superintendent Mark Bedell told The Star on Thursday that the district is conducting an internal review of the incident and district safety protocols.

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Vicenta Guzman on Thursday, April 14, 2022 spoke about her 14-year-old son, Manuel Guzman, who was stabbed and killed Tuesday at Northeast Middle School. Jill Toyoshiba [email protected]

“It was his joy”

Manuel loved cooking and playing football. The eighth-grader played catcher on the college team and was fond of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, although tight end Travis Kelce was his favorite player.

He planned to attend Southeast High School in the fall and had a goal of playing on the school’s turf football field.

Guzman said he would tell him he hoped to one day play for the Chiefs.

He also had a passion for cars and was always able to explain what kind of engine a certain vehicle had.

But his favorite activity was skating at the Winnwood Skate Center with his friends.

“It was his place, it was his release from stress, it was his joy,” Guzman said.

She said her son didn’t like arguments or confrontation. And his presence rubbed off on those around him.

“If for some reason Manny was angry, everyone was angry,” Guzman said. “But when Manny smiled, everyone was happy.”

“I saw nothing but blood”

About a month ago, Guzman said Manuel and the student accused of his murder got into a fight outside of school.

Tuesday morning, she dropped off her son just after 8:30 a.m. A few minutes later, she received a call from school.

He had been stabbed. Guzman thought maybe it was with a pencil. She showed up at school and went to the bathroom. Manuel was on the ground.

“I only saw blood,” Guzman said. “They were doing CPR on him, but he wasn’t responding.”

Since Tuesday, Guzman said he saw screenshots of Snapchat messages where the student allegedly threatened to stab Manuel.

When asked Thursday afternoon if KCPS was aware of a threat made against Manuel, district spokeswoman Elle Moxley said she could not comment due to the ongoing investigation.

Guzman is now calling for justice. She alleges the school knew that Manuel and the other student had a fight. School officials, she said, should have had a conference with her and the parents of the other student.

“I know the boy who did it is young, as is my son, but he didn’t have to do it,” she said. “He didn’t have to take my son.”

Guzman also hopes her son’s death will lead to a call to action to prevent violence. His son’s murder was the first of four Kansas City homicides in less than 24 hours.

The violence led Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas to announce that he would use federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act to help fund citywide violence prevention programs.

“I would hate for families, mothers, fathers to go through this moment,” Guzman said. “We are losing so many children. These are children we are talking about. We need more people to come and help us.

Journalist Sarah Ritter contributed to this story.

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Vicenta Guzman had a picture of her 14-year-old son, Manuel Guzman, enlarged and framed. Guzman’s son was stabbed and killed at Northeast Middle School on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Jill Toyoshiba [email protected]

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Aarón Torres is a breaking news reporter who also covers race and equity issues. He is bilingual, Spanish being his first language.