9-Year-Old Dies In Playground Stabbing

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A 9-year-old boy has died after being stabbed repeatedly by another child at a playground at a mobile home park in western Michigan, police said Tuesday.

Police in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids, said in a statement that Michael Conner Verkerke ran home and collapsed on the porch around 6 p.m. Monday after he was stabbed. An ambulance was called, the department said, and he died after being taken to a hospital.

Witnesses told police four children were playing when one of them, for an unknown reason, pulled a knife and stabbed the boy.

Police say the child who stabbed him was brought to a hospital for evaluation before being taken to the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center pending charges. Police didn’t release details about the child, but TV stations WOOD and WZZM report he’s a 12-year-old.

“The suspect left the playground, then went to a nearby residence where he asked to use the phone. He called police to turn himself in for the incident,” police said in a statement.

Glen Stacey, who lives nearby, tells The Grand Rapids Press that the older boy approached him after the stabbing and asked to use his phone. He said the boy called 911 to report the attack. Stacey said he also called police and described the boy as “very calm.”

“The only time he raised his voice was when the police came,” Stacy said of the boy.

When police arrived, Stacy said they first went to aid the stabbing victim. When officers started heading toward the playground area, he said the boy on Stacy’s lawn wanted police to pick him up and yelled “Hello. I’m right here. You’re going the wrong way.”

The Associated Press left messages seeking updated information from police. An autopsy is planned by the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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