Amy Inita Joyner-Francis went into the bathroom at Howard High School of Technology shortly after 8 a.m. on Thursday and did not make it out alive. The 16-year-old reportedly got into a fight with a group of girls, and tragically, the incident ended with Joyner-Francis losing her life.
“My heart bleeds for the family,” Wilmington, Delaware Mayor Dennis P. Williams said at a press conference. “Things like this shouldn’t happen.”
Friends described Joyner-Francis as a quiet, good girl who got good grades. Although the catalyst for the fatal beating is unclear, Shytera Dawkins, Amy’s friend, said the teen went to the bathroom to “settle the beef,” which she said did not involve a boy, despite initial reports to the contrary.
“This was like the first time that someone died over a fight,” Dawkins said. “Amy is a good girl who gets good grades who stays out of trouble. For them to fight, it’s just wow, a shocker for everybody.”
“All I wanted to do with my friend was walk across the stage and get our diplomas,” Dawkins said. “And now that dream is taken away because she’s not there.”
Delaware police have not confirmed a cause of death, but several witnesses say the violent incident was filmed by bystanders on their phones. Additionally, some of the alleged attackers took to social media to comment on the assault, with one apparently apologizing for her role in the fatal beating.
“I’m sitting here thinking [if] what I’ve done really worth it?” one girl wrote on Instagram. “As much as I felt in the moment nothing compares to the outcome.”
As news of the tragic incident spread across social media, people used the hashtag #RIPAmy to remember the teen and call out sites like WorldStar who have made their fortune by spreading fight videos.
— Cyn Santana (@Cyn_Santana) April 22, 2016
@WORLDSTAR so you guys are rebranding or deleting ?
— i. (@ItsIMANIrose) April 21, 2016
Unreal. #RIPAmy kids record the fight and murder rather than help. The killers lament what they did on Instagram. The child is still dead.
— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) April 22, 2016
— brit (@MOGirlProbs) April 22, 2016
she is really all I think about, and imaging what her parents are going through is heart breaking. #RIPAmy 💙 I love you amy.
— princesa. (@gxldenxz) April 22, 2016
worst part was knowing I wouldn't get a response. always in my heart, r.i.p baby ❤️ promise ill live by your advice pic.twitter.com/eQzTulpFOO
— ❌ (@NoLimitYas) April 21, 2016
Rumors have spread across across social media, increasing tensions at the school. However, Black Lives Matter activists in the city are working to keep the peace.
“We want to keep the peace going into the weekend,” Mahkeib Booker, the founder of Black Lives Matter Wilmington and a parent of a student at Howard High School, told Delaware Online. “Because retaliation is always on the table in situations like these.”
Despite the vicious attack, no arrests have been made in connection to the incident just yet, however, police have confirmed they are reviewing at least one video of the fatal fight.