Florida teen stabs 3 people, killing 1, 'because of his religious beliefs': Police

PHOTO: Corey Johnson is pictured in an undated photo.PlayPalm Beach Gardens Police
WATCH Teen stabs 3 people, killing 1, 'because of his religious beliefs': Police

A Florida teen is accused of stabbing three people, one fatally, "because of his religious beliefs," police said.

Corey Johnson, 17, was attending a sleepover at his friend Kyle Bancroft's home in Palm Beach Gardens when the attack occurred, according to Clint Shannon, Palm Beach Gardens' interim police chief.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Shannon said mother Elaine Simon awoke to a “commotion” and encountered the teen with a knife.

"Upon going to check the boys, [Simon] was met at the stairs by Johnson, who stabbed her multiple times. At that time [Simon's 13-year-old son] Dane [Bancroft] ran toward Johnson to protect his mother, and Johnson began to stab Dane. The two were able to escape the home and ran to a neighbor who called 911," Shannon said.

Responding officers arrested the teen at the scene, Shannon said.

Jovanni Brand, 13, was found dead in the home, having suffered multiple stab wounds and a throat laceration, according to Shannon. Simon and her son Dane Bancroft are currently at St. Mary’s Medical Center and are listed in stable condition, Shannon said. Simon was stabbed 12 times, while Dane was stabbed 32 times, Shannon said.

Kyle Bancroft was at the home at the time of the incident and was unharmed, according to Shannon.

"Johnson has confessed his actions to investigations, stating he stabbed the victims because of his religious beliefs," Shannon said, adding Johnson had converted to Islam.

According to the incident report, Johnson “felt Dane ‘made fun of his Muslim faith and the fact that [he] prayed and kissed the ground.’”

Shannon also said that his department had received information regarding the teen from a previous FBI investigation. The information “urged officers to use caution if contact was made” and "concerned [the teen's] violent tendencies," Shannon said.

When asked if the incident was linked to ISIS, Shannon replied, “Not from what we’ve uncovered, but we understand he has been watching violent videos, which may have some link to ISIS.”

Johnson has been charged with one count of first-degree murder, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He is being held at the Palm Beach County Juvenile Detention Center and awaiting arraignment, according to Shannon.