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7 more teens arrested in attack on Oceanside student who was fatally stabbed, police say

The scene outside an Oceanside strip mall as

The scene outside an Oceanside strip mall as Nassau police investigated the stabbing on Sept. 16. Credit: Jim Staubitser

Seven teens from Long Beach were arrested Friday in connection with the attack on an Oceanside High School senior who died last week after he was stabbed during an after-school fight, Nassau County police said Friday night.

The suspects will all be charged with second-degree gang assault, police said in a news release late Friday. They will be arraigned Saturday morning in First District Court in Hempstead, police said.

Those arrested include Haakim Mechan, 19, of East Fulton Street; Marquis Stephens Jr., 18, of East Pine Street; Javonte Neals, 18, of East Pine Street; Taj Woodruff, 17, of East Fulton Street; and Sean Merritt, 17, of East Pine Street, police said. Police did not name the other two, who are 16 years old.

The arrests came a day after Newsday reported that Tyler Flach, 18, of Lido Beach, had been indicted on a second-degree murder charge and a weapon offense in the Sept. 16 death of Khaseen Morris.

Flach, who maintains his innocence, is being held without bail following his arrest last week.

The funeral for Morris, who would have turned 17 next month, will be Saturday in Oceanside.

As his family made final preparations Friday for his service, his sister, Keyanna Morris, 30, took comfort in learning that more suspects were in custody.

“People cannot do this to someone so good and think there’s not going to be any kind of justice,” she said earlier in the day after Newsday first reported the arrests.

Authorities have said Morris succumbed to a single stab wound to his chest hours after the brawl took place at about 3:45 p.m. in a Brower Avenue strip mall near his school.

Nassau police previously have said the violence broke out after Morris went to the strip mall location knowing the ex-boyfriend of a girl he was friendly with wanted to confront him.

The victim’s family has said Morris had texted the ex-boyfriend to say he wasn’t dating the girl but had walked her home from a party.

Police have alleged Flach was among a group of young men who charged at Morris and his group of friends and that a melee ensued, in which Flach plunged a knife into Morris and pierced his heart.

Last week, police issued a public warning to teens who were involved or at the scene, telling them to come forward with their versions of events.

At least three of the suspects arrested Friday are current Long Beach High School students, and at least two are graduates of the school, multiple sources close to the case said. Some of them surrendered at police headquarters while in the company of their attorneys.

Morris was the youngest of four children and had just started school in Oceanside weeks earlier after his family moved there from Freeport over the summer.

The victim’s family previously called Flach’s indictment the “first step” toward peace and vowed to be in court “every step of the way” for criminal case proceedings.

But Flach’s attorney, Edward Sapone, has said evidence will show his client didn’t commit a crime and the defense “will expose what really happened that day” at “the appropriate time.”

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