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8 teens arrested in beating death of classmate

LAS VEGAS — Police arrested eight teenagers Tuesday who are accused of beating a classmate to death earlier this month in a fight over stolen headphones.

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Jonathan Lewis, 17, died on Nov. 8, seven days after authorities said he was swarmed by 10 of his classmates and attacked. “Extremely disturbing” video of the confrontation was shared online and helped authorities to identify eight of the 10 people involved, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Undersheriff Andrew Walsh said Tuesday.

Lt. Jason Johansson of the police department’s homicide sector called the video “void of humanity.”

“What you see in the video ... is approximately 10 subjects kicking, stomping and punching our victim, Jonathan, as he is on the ground, not defending himself, and to the point where he becomes unconscious,” Johansson said.

Lewis’ father told KSNV that his son was “trying to protect one of his smaller friends,” when the fight happened.

“There’s some things that were being stolen from him as we understand it, and he went to kind of defend him, and three of them kind of attacked him, and he defended himself,” Jonathan Lewis Sr. told the news station. “They couldn’t beat him up. So, the rest of the group joined in.”

Someone saw the younger Lewis lying in the alleyway unresponsive after the fight and carried him back to Rancho High School, where authorities were called. Homicide investigators responded a short while later, after it was determined that the teen “had sustained non-survivable head trauma,” Johansson said.

By Nov. 7, family members told police that Lewis was brain dead, and they planned to donate his organs. He died on Nov. 8, family said on a GoFundMe fundraising campaign.

An autopsy determined he died of blunt force trauma, Johansson said.

The elder Lewis remembered his son as “just an incredible young man who just loved life and loves his family.”

“Jonathan was an incredible loving and kind and generous young man,” he said, according to KSNV. “He cared about the people around him.”

The fight that claimed the younger Lewis’ life happened in an alleyway near Rancho High School after classes let out on Nov. 1, and everyone involved is believed to attend the school.

The eight people arrested, who were not identified by name, are between the ages of 13 and 17. They are facing murder charges and could be prosecuted as adults.

Police continue working to identify two of the people involved in the attack.

Johansson said the fight originally involved one of the younger Lewis’ friends and that it sparked over a pair of headphones.

“At some point in time, Lewis went into the back alley with him and then the fight occurred between Lewis and the subjects that were believed to have stolen the wireless … headphones,” he said. “During the course of the investigation, we started learning additional details that there might be also a connection to some stolen, like, marijuana vape pen or some type of … device used to inhale marijuana.”

Authorities urged parents to talk to their children about video of the fight, which spread widely on social media.

“Remind them that their actions have consequences, their actions have lasting consequences, their actions have life-altering consequences,” Walsh said.