SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 16-year-old boy suspected of stabbing a teenage girl in an apparent hate crime in Lakeside pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
The suspect, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, allegedly was in a group of youths who angrily confronted the 16-year-old victim, who is Black, and members of her family in the 12000 block of Mapleview Street about 11 p.m. Saturday, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
The hostile teens shouted racial slurs at the girl and her relatives, apparently upset about an assault that had occurred earlier in the day, sheriff's Lt. Shawn Wray said. During an ensuing scuffle, the suspect allegedly stabbed the victim twice in the back, then ran off along with his cohorts.
According to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, both counts the boy is facing carry hate crime special allegations, as well as allegations of personal use of a deadly weapon and personal infliction of great bodily injuries. He potentially faces up to 17 years of confinement if convicted.
The DA's Office said the investigation is ongoing into whether charges will be filed against "other individuals involved" in the attack.
Following the stabbing, the girl was hospitalized in undisclosed condition. She, her mother, aunts and grandparents attended the boy's hearing in San Diego Juvenile Court on Thursday morning. The boy's parents, grandmother and other family members were also in attendance.
The boy surrendered to police Monday, according to a defense attorney representing him at Thursday morning's hearing. The attorney requested that the boy be released to his family on home supervision and GPS monitoring, but San Diego Superior Court Judge Richard Monroy denied the request.
In addition to custody, the boy was also ordered to stay away from the victim, her mother and her sister. He is due back in court June 6.
According to the DA's Office, prosecutions of hate crimes have steadily increased in San Diego County, leading to the establishment of an online form and hotline for members of the public to reported suspected hate crimes.
"Multiple aspects of this incident are appalling and as our investigation moves forward, we will be sure to hold everyone accountable for whom the evidence shows committed a crime," said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. "We've seen a disturbing increase in hate crimes, with the highest number being committed against persons who are Black. Anyone who commits these crimes will be held accountable under the law and I join the community in their outrage regarding such incidents."
The Hate Crimes Hotline number is 619-515-8805 and the online form is available at https://www.sdcda.org/helping/hate-crimes.