Updated, 11 a.m., Sept. 20: Nassau County police have arrested a Lido Beach teen in connection with the stabbing death of an Oceanside teen on Monday. Word of the arrest came on Wednesday afternoon. Police were offering few details of how and when he was apprehended.
The 16-year-old Oceanside student, Kahseen Morris, died after being stabbed during a brawl involving at least a couple of dozen teens at an Oceanside strip mall, Nassau County police said.
On Wednesday, police arrested 18-year-old Tyler Flach, of Lido Beach, and charged him with second-degree murder.
“I’m happy,” said Keyanna Morris, 30, Khaseen’s sister. “You can’t do something to someone so good, and someone with such a good soul, and think that justice won’t be served.”
Kahseen Morris suffered a stab wound in the upper torso and died in a hospital around midnight on Monday, Detective Stephen Fitzpatrick, of the Nassau County Police Department, said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Police told reporters on Monday that the brawl involved students from a few different high schools, but they did not provide further details. Witnesses at the scene said that some of the teens involved in the fight were from Long Beach.
On Wednesday, police reportedly stepped up patrols around Oceanside High School as a precaution, and Long Beach High School postponed its Homecoming festivities. The football game against the Sewanhaka Indians was moved to Saturday.
Long Beach Schools Superintendent Jennifer Gallagher released a statement on Tuesday morning. “We are aware of the incident in Oceanside yesterday, and our crisis teams are providing support to students who need it,” Gallagher said. “We also have increased security and police presence around our buildings and are proceeding with a normal day at our high school. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our administrative team.”
In a subsequent statement, Gallagher said that in light of the situation, the police were present in the high school to investigate and to provide additional security.
Morris was a sophomore at Freeport High School in 2018-19, and transferred to Ocean-side High School this year as a junior.
Nassau County police were searching the Lido Beach area by car and helicopter on Monday after the altercation. Several Lido residents said they saw the helicopter overhead. Additionally, one of the people said the search extended to Long Beach, where city officers assisted the NCPD.
The melee broke out about 3:45 p.m. on Monday at 2830 Brower Ave., roughly a half-mile from Oceanside High School. Police rushed to the scene, where they found Morris bleeding from his wounds. Another male teen, 18, suffered an arm injury.
Oceanside School District Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Harrington released a statement on Tuesday morning notifying the community of Morris’s death.
“We have counselors in place to support all of our students and faculty,” the statement read. “We have reached out to the family to let them know we are here for them and to offer whatever assistance we can. I ask that we all come together as a community and keep the family in our thoughts during this painful time.”
Police were investigating and, at press time, were still searching for at least one male suspect. Fitzpatrick told reporters that the fight was planned, and Morris knew the suspect would be meeting him in the strip mall, which is a popular after-school hangout for students.
The brawl began when five to seven males arrived in a car and went after the two victims. A fight quickly broke out involving multiple students from several high schools.
Police did not identify the second victim, and did not say which schools the other students attended. The suspects fled in a vehicle, but investigators did not provide further details.
Fitzpatrick said the altercation may have been over a girl that Morris was seen with. He added that several people recorded the incident on their phones, including one on the social media platform Snapchat.
One video of the melee, obtained by the Herald, shows one victim as he stumbles on the sidewalk and lies on his back with a large wound, evidenced by his blood-soaked shirt. Two males are seen on the ground, one appearing unresponsive as another is punched and kicked repeatedly by several males. No bystanders came to their aid, police initially said, but later noted that a number of students had called 911. Harrington said at least some students attempted to stop Morris's bleeding with paper towels.
Outside China King, a restaurant in the strip mall, on Monday night, blood was visible on the sidewalk, and Nassau County detectives were still questioning witnesses.
Locals noted that while that area of Brower Avenue attracts many teenagers after school, there has not been an incident of this kind in recent memory. “There are always kids in the parking lot,” a man who has lived around the block for 23 years, but declined to be identified, told the Herald. “Especially when school is back in session, a lot of kids go home that way.”
The man said that while many teenagers hang out there through the night, he had never seen any serious problems, aside from noise. “Shopkeepers do the best they can to keep it under control,” he noted.
Edwin Medramo, who works at Mario’s Pizza, said that the restaurant usually sees a rush of students around 2:30 p.m. on weekdays, but there were “never these kinds of problems.”
“It’s crazy,” he said. “Once [the suspects] saw they did something bad, they jumped in the car and disappeared.”
Medramo said there seemed to be more people in the parking lot than usual Monday afternoon, but he did not sense that anything was different or that violence would break out. By the time he tried to call 911, he said, the lines were busy. He learned later that others had already called 911.
Courtney Koehle, owner of To the Stage, a children’s theater school in the strip mall, canceled classes that afternoon because of the police activity. She released a statement on behalf of To the Stage. “Nothing like this has happened in the seven years of being in business or even my 30 years of living in Oceanside,” she wrote. “However, there will be zero tolerance for teenagers, or anyone, loitering in front of our store, and the police will immediately be called.”
Flach was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, after the Herald went to press, at First District Court in Hempstead.This is a developing story.
Scott Brinton and Nadya Nataly contributed to this story.
Note: This story originally stated that Khaseen Morris had been stabbed multiple times. According to police at a news conference Thursday, he was stabbed once before he died.