A 16-year-old who had just finished his sophomore year at McCaskey High School died after being stabbed on a Lancaster city street Wednesday night.
A crowd of people gathered near Benjamin Omar Ramos when police were called to the 900 block of Fremont Street around 9:14 p.m. for a report of a fight.
Police said Ramos was stabbed during a fight between two groups of people. As of Thursday, no one was charged, and investigators canvasing the neighbored looking for witnesses, evidence and private video surveillance cameras. There aren’t any Lancaster Safety Coalition cameras in the area.
The homicide is the third in Lancaster city this year, and at least the 10th incident in an eight-week spate of violence in the city.
Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace called Ramos’ death “heartbreaking.”
The underlying factor for an uptick in crime, she said, is responding to conflict with violence.
Spate of violence
Thirteen people have been injured or killed in 10 shootings, and eleven people have been injured or killed in four stabbings this year in Lancaster, according to newspaper and police records.
Ten people have been injured or killed as a result of eight shootings since the end of April.
The map below marks shooting and stabbing incidents in Lancaster city this year, according to newspaper and police records.
Select each colored dot for more information and a link to LancasterOnline coverage.
Story continues below map.
Tony Torrellas, 31, was shot April 27 at 539 S. Queen St. Tyreek Shyheim Gardner, 22, was found with multiple gunshot wounds May 30 in the 500 block of East Chestnut Street.
Both men were taken to Lancaster General Hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Investigations are ongoing in both incidents, according to police.
Asked about the spate of violent incidents, Lancaster police Lt. Bill Hickey said the incidents are unrelated and declined to comment further.
Sorace said she keeps track of serious crimes. She wants to know what neighborhoods they happen in and who is involved. In most of the incidents, the people involved knew each other, she said.
Violence points to a need for big picture issues she's focused on including economic opportunity, safe housing and education.
"How important it is that we are all pulling as a community so that everyone has an opportunity to live a life that is free from violence," she said.
Sorace attended the J.P. McCaskey High School graduation last week where several student speakers mentioned the loss of classmates.
"It's heartbreaking when young lives are cut short by violence," she said.
Due to last evening’s tragic incident which took the life of @McCaskeyCampus student Benjamin Ramos, school counselors will be available at J.P. McCaskey, McCaskey East and Wheatland MS until 3 p.m. today and Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. to provide grief counseling. (1 of 2)— SDoL (@SDoLancaster) June 13, 2019
School counselors will be at J.P. McCaskey, McCaskey East and Wheatland Middle School from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, according to the School District of Lancaster. Grief counselors were at the schools Thursday afternoon, too.
"Please keep Benjamin's family in your thoughts and prayers at this time," the district said in a tweet.