Students, staff mourn teen killed defending friend

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LA MESA, Calif. -- Students and staff are in mourning at an East County school this week after a 15-year-old boy died from stab wounds he suffered defending a friend in a fight at a birthday party.

Helix Charter High School issued their first formal statement on the teen's death Wednesday, declining to identify the boy publicly but confirming they had lost a sophomore at the school.

“It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that one of our 10th grade students has died," read the statement, which included an email sent to the campus community Tuesday. "Our thoughts and sympathies are with their family and friends."

Police confirmed the teen was Devin Griffiths, who was stabbed on Jan. 31 and had been hospitalized until his death on Feb. 16. Investigators learned a fight at a birthday party on Maria Way in Chula Vista had spilled into the street when Griffiths jumped in to try to help a friend being attacked by several others. When he intervened, he was stabbed, police said.

In the wake of Griffiths' death, Helix High told grieving students that services would be available on campus for anyone who needs them. The support system included the school's two social workers, as well as grief counselors from San Diego Youth Services and the Family Wellness Center.

"A member of the Student Support Team will be present in the student's classes today," the school said in the email to parents Tuesday. "We encourage you to have an open conversation with your student about any support they may need at this time."

Anyone in the community who needed support was also encouraged to use the 24-hour San Diego Access and Crisis Line at 1-888-724-7240.

Friends and family organized events in Griffiths' honor that were shared on social media, but the school said there were no plans for a campus-sanctioned vigil. "The Wellness Center staff will be prepared to support students throughout the grieving process during the next several weeks," a Helix spokesperson said.

Police are still searching for the person who stabbed Griffiths. San Diego County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Tipsters can call Chula Vista police at 619-691-5178 or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 888-580-8477. Tips can also be sent online at sdcrimestoppers.org.

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