Nevada mom accused of trying to kill 2 schoolgirls with SUV
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A woman in Nevada is accused of trying to kill two schoolgirls by driving her vehicle into them to prevent them from fighting her daughter after an on-campus dispute at a Las Vegas-area high school.
Fatima Maria Mitchell, 36, was arrested by Henderson police after her SUV struck a tree, a concrete sign and the two girls at an off-campus crossroads Monday near Basic High School in Henderson.
Mitchell remained jailed Tuesday without bail after an initial court appearance before a justice of the peace who scheduled a felony hearing for Thursday. Court records did not list an attorney who could comment on Mitchell’s behalf.
Mitchell “went searching for the juveniles that were fighting with her daughter,” Henderson police said in an arrest report submitted to the judge. It alleges that Mitchell “accelerated her Chevrolet Tahoe towards the juveniles in an attempt to run them over and ‘take them out,’ which showed her intend to kill.”
The injured girls were treated at a hospital for broken bones but were expected to recover, police said. Their ages were not made public.
They “were only spared from serious injury or death due to the fact that (Mitchell) stuck a tree and concrete sign prior to hitting (them),” the police report said.
A witness told police the SUV “made a quick left turn toward the juveniles and hit two of them,” backed up, “and it appeared that the driver was going to attempt to strike the juveniles again” when school police arrived.
The afternoon incident followed fights earlier in the day that resulted in citations for four students and the arrest of a parent who entered the campus at the 2,400-student school, said Lt. Bryan Zink, a school police spokesman.
Clark County School District administrators held a news conference Tuesday to address a rise in violent incidents in recent weeks and to announce tighter security measures — including single-door campus entry points and quick discipline including student expulsions for threats and fighting.
“We know that our kids are struggling because of the stress, anxieties and isolation of the (coronavirus) pandemic,” said Jesus Jara, superintendent of the nation’s fifth-largest school district. The Las Vegas-based district has more than 300,000 students and 18,000 teachers at 336 schools.
Since schools began in August, 38 students have been struck by vehicles on the way to and from school, campus police have confiscated 25 guns, and officials have reported 3,000 assaults and fights, district police Chief Henry “Mike” Blackeye said.
“Violence is not, and never will be, the answer,” Jara vowed. “Should students and adults resort to violence on our campus, we will remove them and hold them accountable.”
Following another vehicle incident in December, a 36-year-old mother of a Las Vegas student was arrested and accused of accelerating her minivan backward and forward amid a group of schoolchildren — striking at least four juveniles in a group that had gathered off-campus.
Police said three other children received minor injuries in the incident that escalated after the woman, Jaquitta Madison, confronted a student and his mother, alleging that Madison’s son was bullied at school.
Authorities said injuries included scrapes and bruises.
Madison has pleaded not guilty and is free on bail ahead of a May 24 preliminary hearing in Las Vegas at which a judge will decide if she’ll stand trial on four felony charges of battery with a deadly weapon, the minivan.
Associated Press writer Paul Davenport in Phoenix contributed to this report.