The Bronx teenager stabbed to death during a high school history class earlier this week wanted to join the Marines, — if he couldn’t make it as a college basketball player — his mother said Friday.
In an interview with Newsday, Louna Dennis, whose son Matthew McCree, 15, was killed Wednesday after he was allegedly attacked by a classmate who had been the butt of harassment, also said her son wasn’t involved in any bullying.
“My son is not a bully, my son is a loving kid, very loving, affectionate, sweet,” said Dennis, speaking about Matthew in the present tense. “I am going to miss everything about my son.”
Dennis, 33, spoke in the presence of her attorney Sanford Rubenstein who said that any notion that Matthew and his critically wounded friend Ariane Laboy, 16, had bullied suspect Abel Cedeno, prompting the stabbing attack at the United Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation wasn’t true.
On Thursday, police said Cedeno, 18, who is being held without bail on murder and related charges, never said in a lengthy statement that he had been bullied by Matthew and Ariane. According to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, Cedeno said the two classmates had thrown pencils at him in class. In response, Cedeno said he stabbed the two with a switchblade, police said.
Cedeno told detectives other students at the school had teased and harassed him, although Boyce didn’t go into details. At least one family friend of Cedeno has told reporters he had been bullied at the school about his sexual orientation.
“We heard a lot of things and a lot of it isn’t true, so right now we are going to conduct a preliminary investigation,” said Rubenstein, who is contemplating legal action.
Dennis, a health care worker, said that she has two other children — son Kevon, 17, and daughter Kayle, 4. The girl is taking her brother’s death “very, very hard.”
Dennis told Newsday that Matthew went to the school to be with his brother. After Kevon left to go to another school, Dennis said she considered transferring Matthew out of United Assembly but decided to let him stay.
“Mathew I left in that school because I thought my son would have been safe in that school,” said Dennis. After a pause, she added, “That was the reason I left my son in that school. I really wish I hadn’t.”
About his future plans, Dennis said Matthew wanted to attend Fordham University and play college basketball.
“He said, ‘Mommy if that doesn’t work I want to go into the military,’ ” said Dennis, adding that he liked the Marines.
Rubenstein questioned why metal detectors had not been installed at the school after 81 percent of teachers in 2016 reported not feeling safe there. Rubenstein added two teachers were reportedly in the classroom at the time of the stabbings and questioned why they didn’t intercede.
“A thorough investigation is underway and there are no signs of staff misconduct related to the tragedy this week,” Toya Holness, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said in a statement.