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Fort Worth Teen Dies After Off-Campus Fight

By Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News
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(credit: David Silverman/Getty Images)

(credit: David Silverman/Getty Images)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – On Friday there was a bizarre and tragic end to what seemingly started out as a fistfight between teenagers. Investigators are now left trying to find out how and why the incident ended in death.

A 17-year-old student at Fort Worth’s Southwest High school died after a fight with a 15-year old student. The incident happened at a recreation across the street from the school.

Police and school officials will say only that both teens were members of the ROTC. The two apparently had some type of disagreement off-campus and brought the tension with them to school.

Between class periods, around 10:20 a.m. Friday, the students took their grievances outside and across the street to the recreation center.

There are few details of the alleged fight but paramedics were later called for a person having trouble breathing or in possible cardiac arrest.

Police say there is no indication a weapon was used, so the Tarrant County Medical Examiner will have to determine how the teen died. “They’ll [medical examiner] make that final determination as to injuries or weapons leading to cause of death,” explained Fort Worth Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Pedro Criado.

Student Jeffrey Ortega told CBS 11 News that he lost a friend Friday; he says it’s especially tough because fighting is frowned on at the Southwest High campus, and his friend took that seriously.
“He’s just a nice ‘calm down’ guy, never really had anything to do like that,” Ortega told reporters. “He wasn’t just really always out there fighting anything like that.”

As word spread about the death, parents came to check on their children.

Father Curtis Mahaney said he was concerned, but not overly worried. “There were a couple of incidents last year. And it left too much of a reflection on this school because this school does have a lot to offer.”

Officials say about a dozen other students left campus to witness the fight. As investigators questioned them, the school district was already considering discipline.

“Obviously students are supposed to be in school,” said FWISD spokesman Clint Bond, “so we’ll just have to sort everything out and decide what happens to the students who left campus.”

According to Bond, the school was never in lockdown.

By late afternoon counselors were on hand to talk with and listen to anyone having trouble dealing with the student death.

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