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Teen beaten near high school has died from injuries, father says

Updated November 10, 2023 - 8:21 pm

A Las Vegas teenager beaten by a group of about 15 people near Rancho High School last week died on Tuesday, according to his father.

Jonathan Lewis Sr. said Friday that son Jonathan Lewis Jr., 17, died while at University Medical Center for treatment for injuries he suffered in the fight.

“We’re all just trying to process this,” said Lewis, 38, by phone. “The whole family is in shock.”

From what he understands, the altercation happened after “Jonathan stood up for one of his smaller friends,” Lewis said.

“A couple (of people) attacked him, and they weren’t able to hurt him enough, and they all attacked him at once,” he said.

Lewis Jr. was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries on Nov. 1 after police officers found him at about 2:05 p.m. bleeding from the head off of Searles Avenue and North 21st Street. The cross streets are about half a block east of Rancho High, reported the Metropolitan Police Department, which has not yet publicly identified the victim of the attack.

The teen had been in a fight involving about 15 people and was taken to UMC while in critical condition, police said.

Police are working to identify who took part in the beating. No arrests were reported as of Friday.

Lewis, an electrician, declined to comment about the police investigation into the brawl. The family has not yet made funeral arrangements for his son, he said.

In an email, Lewis described his son as “a loving, giving, kind, fierce young man who loved community and caring for others.”

“This horrific tragedy is reflective of the divisive, conflict based, uncaring state that our society and humanity is currently facing with how we interact with our community,” he wrote. “Empathy and love are great strength and cowardly violence is pathetic.”

Lewis Jr. was an aspiring artist interested in drawing, photography and painting, his father said. The boy was considering joining the military like his grandfather, who served in the U.S. Navy.

Lewis Jr. was a Las Vegas native with family ties to the city that extend 50 years, according to his father.

A video purporting to show the Nov. 1 fight circulated on social media this month. It appears to show a young male surrounded by a large group who push him into a fence, force him onto the ground and repeatedly strike him.

The Review-Journal could not verify when the video was filmed, but the attack appears to happen in a residential parking lot near where police said the teen was beaten.

On a GoFundMe fundraising page, Lewis posted a photo of the boy.

Authorities have not yet confirmed Lewis Jr.’s death. The Clark County coroner’s office, the agency in charge of identifying the boy, was closed for the Veterans Day holiday.

The GoFundMe effort had received more than $11,000 in donations toward a goal of $20,000 as of Friday afternoon, according to the website.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on X.

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