A community is in mourning after an elementary school teacher was killed in front of her students.
Kellye Taylor, 53, a teacher at Huntington Academy in Long Beach, Calif., was fatally stabbed in the back Friday as she was watching her students in the park for what the school calls “Fun Friday.”
Some of the two dozen kindergarten-to-sixth-grade children who were playing at the park witnessed the attack, the Associated Press reports. They ran back to the school, which is across from the park, to get help.
“How could they do something like this in front of these babies?” Pamela Huffman, Taylor’s younger sister who also works at the school, said to the Long Beach Press Telegram. “All I could do was run to her. I saw her slip away. I knew she wasn’t going to make it.” A few teachers also witnessed the attack, CBS reports.
Soon after the fatal incident, officers arrested Steven Brown, 50. Police said Brown was the father of Taylor’s grandchildren and was upset that Taylor had custody of her grandchildren, CBS reports. Family members said they didn’t think Brown, the alleged stabber, was capable of anything like murder.
Family and friends held a candlelight vigil Saturday at Orizaba Park, where Taylor was murdered.
“It’s like a nightmare. It’s like I want to wake up from a bad dream,” Mary Bryant, another of Taylor’s sisters, said to KTLA. “But in reality, it is what it is. My sister’s no longer with us.” Taylor has a husband and three children.
“She loved children, and she loved being around children,” Vanessa Kelly, another of Taylor’s sisters, told ABC. “She loved teaching children, and that’s what she did.”