Tributes have been paid to an ‘amazing’ and ‘very talented’ freshman who was brutally stabbed to death near Barnard College’s Manhattan campus.
Tessa Majors, from Charlottesville, Virginia, was killed in Morningside Park at around 5.30pm on Wednesday by two men who allegedly demanded money from her before stabbing her multiple times.
Her friends and family have paid tribute to the 18-year-old, who was described as a ‘great performer’ who had a ‘commanding presence’ on the stage.
‘We lost a very special, very talented, and very well-loved young woman,’ a statement from her family said. ‘Tess shone bright in this world and our hearts will never be the same.’
Freshman Tessa Majors (pictured) who was brutally stabbed to death near the Barnard College’s Manhattan campus was scheduled to play two gigs in her hometown during the winter break
Jeyon Falsini, assistant manager at the venue The Southern Cafe and Music Hall where Majors had performed previously, remembered her for her musical talent: ‘She was amazing, a great performer. For someone so young, she had a commanding presence’
Jeyon Falsini, assistant manager at the venue The Southern Cafe and Music Hall where Majors had performed previously, remembered her for her musical talent.
‘She had bleached blonde hair. She had a great look — a rocker, wore fishnet stockings, plaid skirt, chunky shoes. She looked like a punk rocker,’ Falsini told the New York Post.
‘She was amazing, a great performer. For someone so young, she had a commanding presence.’
Majors had planned to play two rock shows in her hometown of Charlottesville, where she was well-known in the music scene, over the winter break.
On Thursday evening, people were seen pausing at a make-shift memorial for Majors inside the Bernard campus, with some stopping to light a candle in her honor.
Majors was killed just as her the semester at Barnard was winding down, with final exams set to begin Friday followed by a month-long break.
Police said yesterday two teenagers who were being questioned over the stabbing murder of an 18-year-old college freshman in New York have been cleared as suspects in the brutal crime.
People pause and place a candle at a make-shift memorial for Tessa Majors inside the Barnard campus on Thursday, December 12
Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed to death in a Manhattan park on Wednesday night at 5.30pm
NYPD Chief of Detective Rodney Harrison said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon that police wanted to speak to a third young suspect.
A 16-year-old boy, who police sources described as a known robbery suspect, was initially taken into custody from a nearby housing project not long after the attack but he was released without charge on Thursday.
He was reportedly wearing a green jacket that was similar to one that a witness claimed one of Tessa’s attackers was wearing. There was also a trail of blood leading into his apartment, which police sources described as a ‘hub of criminal activity’.
Police have since increased patrols around the college campus and park as investigators vowed to take an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to solving the crime.
These are the steps leading into the park where Majors was attacked on Thursday. She was attacked at the base of them and crawled back up to get help from the book
Majors collapsed after seeking help at a Columbia University guard booth. The steps are shown on Wednesday
The campus security booth at the top of the steps where she went looking for help
Police say Majors had been walking down a flight of stairs into the park on West 116th Street when she was attacked.
The attackers allegedly demanded money from Majors and stabbed her multiple times in the stomach, face, neck and under her arm, before fleeing.
Police added Majors appeared to have put up a fight.
She crawled back up the steps to a Columbia University security guard booth. He called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital but was later pronounced dead.
It was earlier reported that the guard had been doing his rounds when she came looking for help, but NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said on Thursday that this was inaccurate information.
Students gather at the entrance of Barnard College during a vigil held for Tessa Majors on Thursday night
Flowers are laid near the entrance of Barnard College on Thursday in honor of the slain freshman
A woman walks past a make-shift memorial for Tessa Majors inside the Barnard College campus on Thursday evening
The teenager was walking into the park when she was attacked at 5.30pm on Wednesday
A second, unidentified 911 caller reported seeing someone wearing a green jacket at the scene who they thought could be a suspect. It is unclear what time they phoned the police.
An NYPD spokesman refused to give specific details when contacted by DailyMail.com.
Emergency services responded and found Majors’ uncharged cell phone lying next to her, along with a butterfly knife. It is not yet clear if that was the weapon used or if it belonged to her.
Police are still trying to piece together what happened in the lead up to Majors being attacked.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to find those responsible.
‘We will find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice,’ he tweeted. ‘We’ve lost a young woman full of potential in a senseless act of violence. I want every student and every member of faculty to know your city will be with you in the days ahead.’
The student’s parents, who live in Charlottesville, Virginia, headed to New York. Her father, Inman Majors, is the author of six novels and an English professor at James Madison University.
Majors, who had only been in the city since August when her mother dropped her off for her freshman year of college, has been described by her grieving family as a talented and well-loved young woman
After the stabbing, Majors (pictured) staggered to a nearby security guard booth for help but found it vacant
A 16-year-old boy, who police sources described as a known robbery suspect, was initially taken into custody from a nearby housing project not long after the attack but he was released without charge on Thursday
Tessa’s proud father regularly shared tributes to her on social media. He posted his on her 18th birthday earlier this year
Barnard College, where the teenager was a student, is gripped with panic and grief
‘I guess being from a smaller town she was too naive to think about walking alone in New York City. She just shouldn’t have been there,’ her grandmother, Martha Burton, told The New York Daily News.
Her father, author Inman Majors, regularly gushed over her on social media.
In May, in a Facebook post to celebrate her 18th birthday, he wrote: ’18 years ago today my life got redefined in all the right ways when this little bundle of fun came into the world.
‘I can’t wait to see what the next 18 years have in store.’
In a statement to students issued last night, Barnard College president Sian Leah Beilock said: ‘Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life.
‘We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community.
‘This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core.’
Students at the all-female college are now terrified and are preparing to honor Majors at a vigil.
‘My friend is throwing up in the bathroom. She’s so scared,’ Isabel Jauregui, a 20-year-old student, told The New York Times on Wednesday night.
They all learned about the deadly attack via campus news alerts.
MAYOR BLAMED FOR RISE IN CRIME
Mayor Bill de Blasio came under fire on Thursday for his position on crime after tweeting about Tessa’s death.
He tweeted: ‘The close-knit community at Barnard College is in shock right now.
‘We’ve lost a young woman full of potential in a senseless act of violence.
‘I want every student and every member of faculty to know your city will be with you in the days ahead.’
But Twitter users were quick to blame him for the event and said it was indicative of how the city was reverting to its history of violent crime because of his rules.
‘This is on you Mr ‘Safest Big City” one person quipped.
Another said: ‘Mayor: This is late1970’s/1980’s type of NYC violent crime. Multiple predators prey on lone victim w/o fear of being caught. You’re going backwards. Fast.’
Others accused him of letting too many prisoners out of Rikers Island.
‘You caused this by letting criminals roam free and rewarding them for committing crimes and not letting the NYPD do its job,’ another said.
Some begged him to let the police force do its job.
He has previously come under fire for his plans to release prisoners before bail reform comes into effect next year.
Critics blamed De Blasio’s soft line on crime for the teenager’s brutal death
Source: Daily Mail