13-year-old boy stabbed at Noland Village

November 27, 1998

StabbingBy LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

A 13-year-old boy was stabbed on a playground at Noland Village Public Housing Complex on Friday and police charged a classmate with attempted murder, according to police and several children and adults who were there.

Lisa Scuffins, 18, cried as her boyfriend, Jose Benitez, was taken away by Halfway Ambulance crews.

Benitez, a student at Springfield Middle School, was taken to Washington County Hospital where he was admitted in stable condition Friday night.

The victim was suffering from a collapsed lung, police said.

Hagerstown Police arrested a 14-year-old male.

The teen was charged as an adult with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, according to police.


His name was being withheld Friday night, but since he was charged as an adult, it could be released later, said Sgt. Mark E. Renner.

He was being held without bond at the Washington County Detention Center, according to police.

Scuffins said Benitez and some of his classmates were arguing near a basketball court. She didn't know what the fight was about.

"They had problems at school," she said.

Words escalated into a fistfight. One boy, who was later charged, went to his house and then returned to the park, she said.

Minutes later, Benitez was stabbed in the back, she said.

Benitez went to his apartment and his mother called for help about 5:30 p.m. The T-shirt she was wearing was spotted with blood.

An officer handcuffed the boy, who was only as tall as the officer's chest, and took him away in a squad car.

Police said they interviewed adults, including the suspect's mother, who witnessed the stabbing.

As police were ready to leave the crime scene, three youths ran up to an officer and handed him a pocket knife they said belonged to Benitez.

More than a dozen children and a few adults had gathered to watch the incident. Several youths said they saw the stabbing.

"It's terrible out here. You can't trust nobody," said Zena Lassiter, 21.

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