KENTWOOD, Mich. — A 9-year-old boy died after being repeatedly stabbed by a 12-year-old boy at a playground in western Michigan, police said today.
Michael Conner Verkerke ran home and collapsed on the porch around 6 p.m. Monday after he was stabbed at a mobile home park in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids, according to police. Investigators said the older boy then left the playground and called police from a nearby home to turn himself in.
The 9-year-old died after being rushed to a hospital, Kentwood police said.
Witnesses told investigators that four children were playing when one of them, for unknown reasons, pulled a knife and stabbed the boy.
Glen Stacey, who lives nearby, told The Grand Rapids Press that the older boy approached him after the attack 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.
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 motive in the attack was still being investigated, said Kentwood Police Chief Thomas Killen.
Police said the 12-year-old boy was evaluated at a hospital before being taken to the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center pending charges. Police didn’t immediately release additional details about the child.
An autopsy is planned by the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Kent County prosecutor’s office will determine whether the boy will be charged as a juvenile or an adult, Hillen said.