EXCLUSIVE: Father of Columbia High School stabbing victim speaks out

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Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 3:06 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 4:15 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The father of a Columbia High School student who was stabbed Friday spoke to WIS News 10 about why he felt the school did not respond quickly enough after his son was hurt during a fight.

According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD), deputies responded to the stabbing on Friday at around 2 p.m.

Deputies say 17-year-old Omari Fortenberry stabbed another student around 2 p.m. Friday.

The campus was on lockdown for nearly three hours before students were allowed to leave shortly before 5 p.m.

RCSD tells us a 4-inch knife was used in the stabbing.

The father of the student who was hurt said his son had to have surgery for his injuries.

“I was worried a lot and they told me what had happened to him and I’m almost nine hours. So I gave them my brothers number and he answered the phone.”

“He said, ‘please help, please help,’ and there was a blood going everywhere,” the student’s father said.

“I don’t know why they take their time when there is blood,” he said. “They told him to take his shirt off, and take this.

That’s what my son told me, and I don’t know exactly, but I’m sure that my son needed help that time.”

Richland School District One’s superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon says metal detectors were in place and used Friday morning. WIS had asked him directly how the knife got in to the school.

“Metal Detectors are not full proof. There are a lot of things that we do, multiple layers of safety precautions. The metal detectors, additional staff, cameras, SRO’S, staff in the hallway, those type of things. Students telling an adult when things might not seem right. So there’s multiple layers and metal detectors of course we said from the offset, there not full proof in terms of one thing will prevent anything or something from happening,” said Witherspoon.

Witherspoon also says that the district along with RCSD are still investigating this incident. As for the victim, his father says his son is set to graduate in the spring and wants him to finish school online.

The victim was taken to the hospital. He had surgery for his injuries. His father tells us his son is having difficulties eating and drinking.

Fortenberry was arrested and taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Friday afternoon. He was given a $50,000 surety bond on Monday and was ordered to not make contact with the victim. The judge also said Fortenberry would be required to wear an ankle monitor.

Fortenberry is being charged as an adult with attempted murder.