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Counselors meet with South Gate high school students, staff

Counselors met with students and staff at a South Gate high school Sunday to help them deal with the stabbing death of a girl.

October 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Crisis counselors met with students and staff at South East High School in South Gate on Sunday to help them deal with the stabbing death of a girl.

A memorial of flowers and candles continued to grow in front of the school for 17-year-old Cindi Santana, allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend Abraham Lopez, 18, on campus Friday.

"It was really sad to see what happened. I was standing in front of it," said student Michelle Gomez. "It was really intense."

The attack was witnessed by many students. They said Lopez and Santana were broken up and that they had a fight during their lunch hour. The fight became physical. Witnesses said Lopez punched Santana in the face, began choking her and then pulled out a knife.

"I think he was blind with rage," said student Christian Delgado. "When I saw him on the floor, he didn't have no reaction. It was just blank. It wasn't him."

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Lopez was arrested last Sunday by South Gate police for making a criminal threat - a felony - against Santana. The District Attorney declined to move forward with charges and Lopez was released Tuesday afternoon.

On Sunday, counselors were available for four hours to speak with students and families at the school library.

"The school is fully staffed, there's dozens and dozens of additional support staff, "said John Deasy, the Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent."We are ready here to work with the students and staff when they return."

Students and community members took part in a fundraiser as well, collecting donations for Santana's family to help pay for funeral expenses.

Lopez has been charged with murder. He is set to be arraigned Monday.

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