A Stansbury High School senior was killed in a fight early Saturday morning, sending a school — and a community — reeling in shock.
Jesse Horowitz, 17, of Stansbury Park, had attended a midnight fight outside Stansbury Elementary School between a friend and 18-year-old Roy Coffey, also of Stansbury, when he began to trade words with Larry Beach, 20, of San Antonio, Texas, said Lt. Travis Scharmann of the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office. Beach is reportedly Coffey’s cousin.
The argument became physical, and Beach allegedly grabbed Horowitz and stabbed him several times, primarily in the abdomen, said Scharmann.
Law enforcement and medical crews were called immediately by bystanders, and emergency personnel arrived within minutes, he said, but Horowitz died at the scene from his injuries.
Deputies later arrested both Beach and Coffey at Coffey’s Stansbury Park home, Scharmann said. Beach was booked into the Tooele County Detention Center for homicide, while Coffey was booked on charges of accessory to homicide and obstruction of justice. No formal court charges had been filed as of Tuesday at noon.
At a candlelight vigil held Monday night at Woodland Park in Stansbury, Horowitz’s family asked the more than 100 friends and community members there to help police with the investigation and to resolve differences peacefully.
Horowitz’s mother, Darcy Horowitz, recalled her son as being caring and helpful — positive attributes that led him to a dangerous situation when he tried to help his friend at the fight.
The Tooele County School District provided a crisis team for students at Stansbury High School and Stansbury Elementary School following the incident. Superintendent Scott Rogers said this is the first time to his knowledge a homicide has been committed on school grounds. He said the crisis team’s goal is to help students deal with the loss of their classmate and, in many cases, friend, in the most productive ways possible.
“It’s upsetting any time we lose a student, and this one is especially upsetting,” he said. “People deal with it differently. You want to give students space to talk it out or stay home. We just try to provide support.”
He added, “When a crisis team shows up, they don’t take over; it’s not like incident command. We’re trying to support grieving kids, some who were close to him, and grieving staff members. We want to support the grieving families all we can.”
Horowitz, whose legal last name is Gentry, is described as being a popular and well-liked student, and was a key member of the school’s football team.
Stansbury football coach Clint Christiansen said Horowitz was a talented player with a genuine passion for the game.
“He played the game with a lot of love. He was very reckless, but in a good way, and very talented,” said Christiansen. “His smile was very contageous. He was very confident in everything he did. He was a fun kid to watch play the game. He was one of those kids who, no matter how stressful something was, he could always lighten the situation.”
In his senior season, Horowitz rushed 84 times for 618 yards — an average of 7.36 yards per carry — ranking him second on the team for rushing.
Although Horowitz would have graduated in a few weeks, and wouldn’t have played in Stallion Stadium again, Christiansen said his loss is acutely felt by his teammates.
“He was a player for us and he will be extremely missed. Our team’s going through a tough time with this,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s grasped it yet, this senseless act of violence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. It’s tough enough for us and I can’t imagine what it’s like for them. We try to do what we can to honor him.”
Rogers said even for the people who didn’t know Horowitz well, or perhaps at all, an incident like this inevitably impacts everyone at the school.
“It definitely affects [the school]. Sometimes we don’t know how much we influence people until after death, and then you find out how large your circle of influence is,” he said. “Even a kid who’s not a popular kid or well-known, any time we lose a youth, it’s a cause for grief and mourning and loss.”
Rogers said many rumors about the fight and what led to Horowitz’s death, had been circulating, which he felt made the atmosphere at the high school more volatile in an already emotional situation. He added the school and school district have been told few details about the incident.
Scharmann said the investigation remains open while detectives verify witness accounts of the incident. He said he did not expect any more arrests to be made, though more charges for obstruction of justice may be filed if false statements were given.
The last reported murder in Tooele County was that of 69-year-old Evelynne Derricott, who was killed in her Tooele home in October 2011. Her case remains open.
An account for Horowitz’s family has been established at Wells Fargo Bank as the Jesse Horowitz Memorial Fund.