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Boy fatally stabbed by 12-year-old at playground

DETROIT — A 9-year-old boy was repeatedly stabbed in the back by a 12-year-old boy at a playground, then ran screaming to his western Michigan home and collapsed bleeding on his porch, witnesses and police said Tuesday.

Michael Conner Verkerke died at a hospital shortly after the Monday evening attack in Kentwood, outside Grand Rapids. Witnesses said the 12-year-old went to a nearby home after the stabbing, called 911, and calmly turned himself in, then tried to flag down officers when they arrived.

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Barb Poelman said she was sitting on her deck in the Pinebrook Village mobile home park when ‘‘we heard the kids run across the front. . . screaming. He [Michael] ran with the kids that were with him.’’

She said the boy’s mother was distraught, pleading for help as she lay on the grass outside the family’s home.

‘‘She was screaming, ‘Where is the ambulance?’ while her boy was laying on the porch bleeding,’’ Poelman said. ‘‘The kids, I thought they were just playing.’’

Witnesses told investigators that four children were playing when one of them, for unknown reasons, pulled a knife and stabbed the boy.

Glen Stacy, who lives nearby, told The Grand Rapids Press that the older boy approached him after the attack and asked to use his phone. He said the boy called 911 to report the attack and turn himself in.

Stacy said he also called police and described the boy as ‘‘very calm.’’

The motive in the attack was still being investigated, police said.

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