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School offers grief counseling as police probe Cambridge teen’s fatal assault

Officials at Cambridge’s public high school are offering grief counseling for students in the wake of a 15-year-old girl’s death following an apparent assault earlier this week.
Officials at Cambridge’s public high school are offering grief counseling for students in the wake of a 15-year-old girl’s death following an apparent assault earlier this week.(Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/File)

CAMBRIDGE — Cambridge Rindge and Latin School offered grief counseling for students Tuesday, a day after one of its students died from injuries sustained in an apparent assault, as investigators asked for the public’s help in identifying someone seen in the area on a bicycle at the time.

The 15-year-old girl was reportedly thrown to the ground on Cambridge Street around 6:30 Sunday evening, causing her to hit her head. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died Monday afternoon.

“Our community is devastated to learn that one of our students has passed away following an incident on Sunday night,” said Kenneth Salim, superintendent of the Cambridge Public Schools.

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“Words cannot express the depth of our sorrow for this loss.”

Salim said school administrators “have been reaching out personally to those affected by this tragedy, and grief counseling has been available at the high school today and will be again tomorrow.”

The teenager was walking to a friend’s house when she was shoved, the authorities said.

They have not identified the victim. They said they would provide more information after the state’s medical examiner’s office determined the cause of death.

The girl’s death touched off an outpouring of condolences.

“So incredibly sad,” Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern posted on Twitter. “My heart breaks for this young girl and her family.”

Residents and business owners said the bustling area where the girl was attacked is normally safe and said they were unnerved by her death.

“I’m shocked,” said Mariam Maxine Davis, 54, who appeared shaken. “My God.”

A bartender at Portugalia Restaurant, located steps from the site of the attack, said police came by and asked for customer receipts in an effort to track down potential witnesses.

“It’s a shock,” he said, identifying himself only as John. “To know [the attack happened] at that time of day, on the weekend, that’s still full-on daylight. It’s hard to believe nobody saw anything.”

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Soun Chheou, owner of Souper Roll Up Cafe across the street, said his restaurant was closed at the time of the attack.

“Sad,” he said. “Somebody got killed for no reason.”

Natalie Heffelfinger, 77, a resident of a nearby apartment complex for the elderly and disabled, said the girl’s death was deeply sad.

“I felt bad for her,” she said.

Another tenant lamented the violence that he said seems to be everywhere nowadays.

“There’s a lot of trouble in the world,” said the 87-year-old man. “This whole world needs to be changed.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.