Police: Teen Stabs Woman on Grand Rapids Playground

Updated: April 17, 2019 10:30 PM

A teenager faces murder and drug charges after a fatal stabbing outside a Grand Rapids elementary school on Tuesday night.

Officers found both the suspect and victim on the playground at Murphy Elementary after responding to a report of a stabbing at 9:45.  Police say when they arrived, a 15-year-old male from Grand Rapids was holding a knife next to an unconsious 20-year-old woman with a stab wound to her abdomen.

The woman was identified Wednesday afternoon as Chere Morgan. Police said she's originally from the Leech Lake Reservation. She later died at a hospital.

"We believe this meeting was arranged by these two people and not related to the school. The public is not in danger. Drugs were found at the scene,” Grand Rapids Police Chief Scott Johnson said in a news release.

The suspect appeared in juvenile court Wednesday and is charged with felony second-degree murder and felony sale of a controlled substance in a school zone. Prosecutors are seeking to have the case moved to adult court.

The court hearings for the suspect are scheduled for May 1 and May 14.

A Grand Rapids resident named Cheney Heiniemi lives right across the school. He saw the scene unfold from his kitchen window.

"Prior to the police showing up, we were in the kitchen and I noticed someone run and I didn't really think anything of it. I was a little curious to look out but I didn't want to startle my wife so I thought it was just a jogger," Heiniemi said. 

Heiniemi saw police at the scene shortly after. He describes the area as a safe neighborhood. His son goes to Murphy Elementary. That's why Heiniemi said he was surprised to see police on scene at the middle of the night.

"There's a pretty good police presence. All the neighbors know each other and I do feel very safe and it's a safe place for my son," Heiniemi said.

Police were also taken back by the incident.

"It's a very safe neighborhood. We have very safe schools. Frankly we were very surprised that something like this would happen in our community, especially in the grounds of a school," Johnson said.

Johnson also said the case has been referred to the county attorneys office. 

Independent School District 318 released a statement saying they are grateful to law enforcement for their swift response.

"At no time were any [ISD] 318 students or staff in danger. Although parts of the investigation are ongoing, law enforcement has assured us that there is no risk to the school community as a result of the incident and the district is providing its full support to law enforcement officials. Our thoughts go out to the community members impacted by this tragedy," the district's statement reads.

The Independent School District 318 said they informed parents of the incident via email and phone Wednesday morning before school started.

The Itasca County Sheriff's Department, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and Bovey Police Department are assisting in the investigation. 

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