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Fatal school fight between two girls was over boy, family says

Joanna Ramos

The family of an 11-year-old girl who died after a brief fight with another girl in Long Beach said the two were quarreling over a boy.

Family members who spoke to KTLA-TV Channel 5 said the victim was Joanna Ramos. Her aunt, Celina Cervantes, said Joanna complained of a headache after the fight and that the girl's mother rushed her to the hospital. Joanna had no visible wounds. She underwent surgery and was placed in intensive care.

"My sister-in-law rushed her to the ER, and two hours later she's gone," Cervantes told the station. "It's just sad. Very sad."

Deputy Chief Robert Luna said the cause of Joanna's death remains “undetermined” but offered more details on the physical altercation between the two children, which took place Friday after school at Willard Elementary.

The fight was planned in advance, lasted less than a minute and did not involve any weapons, Luna said. “We believe nobody was knocked to the ground,” he added.

Police said seven onlookers watched the fight. Neither their names nor the name of the other girl involved in the fight was released Saturday.

Once the altercation was over, Joanna returned to her afterschool program and indicated she wasn’t feeling well, police said. Her relatives took her home and later took her to a hospital, where she was placed in the intensive care unit in critical condition.

Officers were informed about 5:50 p.m. Friday that Joanna was not breathing. Although hospital personnel tried to revive her, she was pronounced dead shortly before 9 p.m., authorities said.

So far, no one has alleged or provided any information to indicate that Joanna was being bullied, Luna said.

“There are still many questions, many questions that cannot be answered,” he said.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office will determine the cause of the girl’s death. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information for investigators is asked to call (562) 570-7244.

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-- David Zahniser and Shelby Grad

Photo: Joanna Ramos. Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5

 
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