Police: Girl, 16, dies following assault at Wilmington, Del. school

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP/WTXF) -- A city official says a 16-year-old girl has died after an assault at a Wilmington high school. Her family tells FOX 29 the victim is Amy Joyner-Francis. She had just turned 16 years old. Police say she was beaten in the bathroom and died at the hospital. Fellow students and the community are stunned.

Police said in a statement that officers were called to Howard High School of Technology around 8:20 a.m. Thursday and they are investigating a serious assault that took place in the bathroom.

Sgt. Andrea Janvier said by telephone that the assault took place on school grounds around the time when students arrive for the day.

Janvier says the girl was flown to A.I. DuPont Children's Hospital in critical condition, and was pronounced dead a short time later. 

“I think this is a dream and I'm trying to wake up,” father Sonny Francis.

Sonny Francis is a heartbroken father who is speaking out about the death of his daughter, Amy.

“All I know is my daughter is gone. She was the love of my life and it hurts,” he explained.

Francis says his daughter was a great student and a loving teenager who was into fashion and was very close with her family, especially her mother who dropped her off at school this morning not knowing she would never see Amy again.  Francis said there was no indication that anything bad was going on in her life. This tragedy comes with many questions.

READ MORE: Day after death of Del. student, classmates, staff speak out 

"I thought schools were a safe place. You drop your kids off and would come home after school  apparently that's not the case with some schools now children are just out of control," he said.

Police said they were interviewing several students about the deadly beating  and have not revealed any details about a possible motive.  Francis says he's cooperating with police and can't comment on the investigation itself  except to say this should not have happened.

Classes have been canceled at the school Friday.

Wilmington's Mayor released the following statement following the incident: 

“We are all deeply saddened by this tragedy, and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to the young girl’s family and friends as they grieve this terrible loss. Howard High School of Technology has a rich history in the City of Wilmington, and in this time of great tragedy, it is critical that we embrace the students, parents, faculty, and the entire Howard community. Our entire city is shaken by the loss of this child’s life, but in this moment we should all come together to work collectively to address the serious needs of our youth. As a community, I know that our strength comes from the commitment that we all have to support our children. Now, more than ever, is the time that we must demonstrate that commitment.” 

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