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Girl's throat cut in before-school assault

Assailant stabs self; both hospitalized

A 17-year-old girl was slashed in the throat yesterday morning outside East Boston High School by a former US Naval Academy student who ran from the scene, cut his own throat, and stabbed himself in the chest until he collapsed in a pool of blood.

Annmarie Reyes, an East Boston High School junior, and Christopher Manning, 19, a 2003 graduate of Boston Latin School, were in critical condition last night at Boston hospitals, according to police and school authorities.

The incident shocked students as they arrived at the school at 7:30 a.m.

Manning carried a suicide note in his pocket that said he planned to "take somebody with me," said a law enforcement official involved in the investigation. The note indicated that Manning had been grappling with stress and emotional pain.

But the connection between Manning and Reyes was far from clear to investigators even after they interviewed friends and relatives of the two teens, said Deputy Superintendent Daniel Coleman, chief of homicide investigations. Last night, more than 12 hours after the double stabbing, a law enforcement official said that the mystery persisted of how Manning knew Reyes, or what might motivate him to attack her.

No charges had been filed against Manning late yesterday.

Manning apparently had waited for Reyes outside the school and argued with her before the attack, according to a police report.

Reyes had planned to attend the school prom last night with a 2003 East Boston High School graduate, a family friend said. The prom was canceled.

The stabbing was the second in four days involving Boston students. On Tuesday, a 14-year-old student was stabbed in Fields Corner after leaving the Grover Cleveland Middle School in Dorchester.

The attack yesterday transformed a routine morning outside East Boston High School into a scene of startling violence. Reyes had just walked about three blocks to the school from her home on Border Street when Manning, who apparently had driven to the school in his parents' car, confronted her. The exchange between the two attracted the attention of a Boston school police officer.

As the officer moved to break up the argument, Manning ran away and the officer discovered Reyes bleeding from her throat, according to the police report. She was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Manning then slashed at his own throat with a Swiss Army knife and stabbed himself repeatedly as he ran down White Street, away from the school, sometimes stopping on the sidewalk as two school police officers chased him on foot, according to witnesses and the police report.

Manning ran to Eagle Square and turned right on Meridian Street before falling, bloodied, in front of 445 Meridian St., police and witnesses said.

Officers shouted to neighbors for towels to stanch the blood pouring from Manning's neck. He was rushed to Boston Medical Center.

Michael Lonardo said his sister, Christina, and Reyes have been friends since elementary school. The two were planning to attend the prom together and had rented a limo. He said his sister was in tears after the stabbing.

"She and my sister were always together," said Lonardo, 18. "They wanted to go to the same college. They were popular students."

Daniel Diaz Jr., 18, a senior at East Boston High School, said Reyes is a sergeant in the Reserve Officer Training Corps and in charge of training new recruits. Christina Ortiz, a junior who is also in ROTC, said she did not know the connection between Reyes and Manning.Manning was appointed to the US Naval Academy in July, but left in January after completing one semester, according to a spokeswoman for the academy. His reasons for leaving were not made public. He had been recommended for admission to the academy by US Representative Michael Capuano, Democrat of Somerville. Manning's mother, Jane, is a Boston school teacher who has worked at Umana/Barnes Middle School in East Boston, according to neighbors and city payroll records. The school is located within walking distance of where Manning collapsed.

Neighbors of Manning's said they were stunned to learn of his alleged crime. They said Manning lived with his parents and a younger brother in a meticulously maintained two-family building on Bennington Street that the family has owned since the mid-1940s.Students gathered for a concert at Boston Latin last night said that Manning was an outgoing student who ran track. He was known as a hard-working student who helped the office staff with occasional errands and returned from the Naval Academy during breaks to visit his teachers. Headmaster Cornelia A. Kelley recalled his elation at being accepted into the academy. She said the youth was "an excellent student with a great deal of potential, well-liked by adults and peers, with a wonderfully supportive family."

"I'm overwhelmed with sorrow for all of the parties involved in this," Kelley said. "It's a terrible tragedy and incomprehensible."

School Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant bemoaned the recent violence among students traveling to and from school. In addition to yesterday's attack, three students have been stabbed, one fatally, at or near MBTA stations in the last three months.

"You never become accepting or say, `Oh, this is just one more event or incident,' " he said. "You have to stay rational in your thinking about what to do to help or support the students and adults at the schools, but that doesn't mean there isn't an emotional impact when there is injury or loss of life."

Megan Tench and Anand Vaishnav of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents Jared Stearns and Christine MacDonald contributed to this report.  

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