Syasia McBurroughs: Philadelphia student killed along with girl, 8, and boy, 11 in stabbing sparked by Facebook post
Syasia McBurroughs, 23, of Cedar Knolls, New Jersey was a hardworking young woman working two jobs to better herself. She worked at a campus bookstore, trying to put away some money for school. She had hopes of becoming a teacher and she was studying early childhood education at NJCU.
She got a new job on Friday, at Amazon, but by the next day, she was dead, a victim of senseless violence.
McBurroughs was slaughtered Saturday along with Aerial Little Whitehurst, 8, and Al-Jahon Whitehurst, 11, during a bloody rampage in which a man forced his way into a Newark, New Jersey home and started stabbing people.
The children's 29-year-old mother was also slashed in the attack; along with two 13-year-old twins, are all expected to survive. The trio were treated at an area hospital and are expected to survive.
"Syasia was the sweetest person with the most vibrant smile," Karla Lee, a co-worker at the school bookstore, told NJ.com. "Whenever she laughed she would change your whole mood."
Also speaking to NJ.com, Shantasia Artis, a friend of McBurroughs, described her as being "full of life" and someone who "would brighten every room she went in."
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka called the stabbing "one of the most tragic and savage" slayings that he'd ever seen, according to news reports.
Law enforcement hunted some days for a 26-year-old man as a "person of interest," according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray, who updated reporters at a Saturday night news conference. The man was identified as Jeremy Arrington.
"All six of the individuals appeared to have been stabbed with a knife or knives and we are not ruling out other weapons at this time," Murray told reporters, according to NJ.com.
Arrington was already on law enforcement's radar: He is wanted in connection with a sexual assault which took place on October 9.
"We have to get him immediately before he hurts someone else," the mayor was quoted as saying. "As long as he's on the street, nobody is safe."
Arrington was arrested after a police standoff outside a home late Sunday night. He is expected to face charges of murder, police said.
Social media in part sparked the deadly stabbing, according to NJ.com, which reported this passage:
According to Murray, authorities in Newark had announced on Oct. 13 that Arrington was wanted in connection with an Oct. 9 shooting and sexual assault. One of the stabbing victims reposted that alert on Facebook, which was apparently part of the motive behind the alleged confrontation at the house Saturday, Murray said.
"This is probably one of the most tragic and savage situations that I've seen in a very, very long time here," Baraka said at a late Saturday news conference. "The incident this evening was a horrific and horrible scene."
"You are not going to shoot our children. You are not going to stab our kids. This is it. We have lost too many on these streets," Donna Jackson, a Newark community activist, told NJ.com.
"All I know is there's babies involved. There's women involved. There's no words for this, just like the two-year-old yesterday in Orange, there are no words when it comes to kids," she was quoted as saying.
Friends of McBurroughs said that she loved to dance and had an affinity for Trey Songz.
"She was a real bubbly person," friend James Stewart, a 22-year-old graphic design major, told NJ.com. "She cared about everyone."
Police are offering a $20,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest.