A Las Vegas teenager died last Wednesday after being beaten by over a dozen people, police say.
Jonathan Lewis Jr., 17, was reportedly assaulted on Nov. 1 by a crowd of people near Rancho High School, where he was a student. His father, Jonathan Lewis Sr., says his son was defending a friend from a group of bullies, who then turned on him. Lewis Jr. died of his injuries at a local hospital, according to KLAS-TV.
The Clark County coroner’s office listed Lewis Jr.’s cause of death as complications from multiple blunt force injuries, and ruled the death a homicide.
Lewis Sr. wrote on GoFundMe that his son was defending “one of his smaller friends,” whom bullies had allegedly thrown in a trash can after stealing something from him.
“He’s a courageous young man,” wrote Lewis Sr., who has also created a separate website in his son’s honor.
Police described the incident as “a physical altercation with approximately 15 individuals.” Footage of the assault was widely circulated on social media. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has yet to announce any arrests, according to KLAS-TV.
Lewis Jr. was reportedly living with his mother in Las Vegas but had plans to move to Austin, Texas, to live with his father.
“Today at 11:26 am my son was pronounced dead,” Lewis Sr. wrote on the GoFundMe page on Nov. 8. “He will always be so loved as his dad I’ll forever hold him in my heart, shine even brighter, love even more and work all my life to bring peace into this world.”
Lewis Sr. posted childhood photos of his son to the page and rued what he called the “uncaring state” of the world.
“This horrific tragedy is reflective of the divisive, conflict based, uncaring state that our society and humanity is currently facing with how we interact with our community,” he wrote. “Empathy and love are great strength and cowardly violence is pathetic.”