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Teen stabbed in Merrick over social media post, police say

Anthony Vas, 17, of Merrick, is led out

Anthony Vas, 17, of Merrick, is led out of Nassau police headquarters in Mineola for arraignment on charges of assault and criminal possession of a weapon on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Vas was arrested Wednesday after he stabbed a teen in Merrick during a dispute over a social media post, police said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A confrontation between two teenagers Wednesday over a possibly “hurtful” Instagram message ended with one of the teens stabbed and the other arrested, police said.

The 17-year-old victim was stabbed in the chest with a 5-inch steak knife after he went to the suspect’s Merrick home at 3:35 p.m. Wednesday to confront him about the social media post, police said.

The victim was in stable condition Thursday following emergency surgery, police said.

His alleged attacker, Anthony Vas, also 17, of South Hewlett Avenue, was charged with assault and weapons possession, Nassau County police said.

“I would describe this as a concerning and possibly hurtful Instagram message,” said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a department spokesman, without being more specific about the post’s content.

“We hear about this all the time,” LeBrun said of altercations that start on social media. “We have certain squads that work on this routinely with regard to hurtful and harassing messages that go out to students.”

Vas, a student at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, was arrested at his home at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday. He was ordered held on $75,000 cash or bond at his arraignment Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead on charges of first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon, said Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

Nassau District Court Judge Paul Meli also signed a stay-away order of protection prohibiting Vas from contact with the victim.

Guy Allen, Vas’ Hempstead-based attorney, declined to comment.

School officials noted that the attack had taken place after school and off school grounds. “As always, the district provides counseling services to any students and staff as needed and security is always present at our schools,” John DeTommaso, superintendent of Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, said in a statement.

LeBrun said: “Parents really need to sit down with their children, have a very in-depth conversation with their children, or students, with regards to the harm...[such messages] it can cause,” he said.

“And again, this probably could have been avoided if this message was not sent,” he said. “We implore the parents, the school officials, even the police, to continue to have conversations with regard to these messages because they are hurtful and destructive.”

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