A 9-year-old Clovis boy attempted to stab a 7-year-old neighbor with a steak knife Monday while his 11-year-old sister held the victim down, according to police.
The victim’s wounds were superficial and her mother opted to treat them at home, according to Capt. Patrick Whitney, spokesman for the Clovis Police Department.
“It was a steak knife, but luckily it wasn’t applied with very much force,” Whitney said.
The victim’s mother called police after she learned of the incident when she returned home from work in the evening, Whitney said.
The children live in the same apartment complex in the 500 block of Reid Street, Whitney said.
“The sister held the girl while the brother cut her on the leg. The victim supposedly used a racial epitaph towards the (male) child and that’s what supposedly caused it, (but) you can’t stab someone if they call you a bad name,” Whitney said.
Officers referred the case, classified as a felony, to juvenile authorities.
Police are not allowed to take children age 11 and younger into custody in New Mexico, according to Whitney. Instead, they must refer juvenile criminal cases to the Children Youth and Families Division.
“It is a felony aggravated battery because that is a deadly weapon. There isn’t anything much deadlier than a steak knife. It is designed to cut flesh (and meat)... (But officers) are not allowed to take them into custody period. For any reason,” he said.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said his office reviews recommendations from CYFD but ultimately, his office makes the decision if charges will be filed.
“We do have to take the age of the child into consideration by law,” he said. “(But) an offense such as this is one that we are going to consider being a very serious offense... I do believe this is an offense that is prosecutable,” he said.
CYFD spokeswoman Romaine Serna said her department tries to avoid prosecution of children whenever possible.
“Our first choice would be to handle (cases) informally. Usually when there’s a young child and there’s behavior issues, there’s something going on in the family,” she said, explaining services for families are available.