Corey Johnson, 17, stands charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder following a confession that he unleashed an assault at a home at the BallenIsles Country Club in Florida. Johnson had already been under investigation by the FBI, Palm Beach School District Police, and the Jupiter police department for "alleged violent tendencies." According to the Palm Beach Post, law enforcement had received “intelligence gathering” on Johnson that prompted the initial investigation.
It was after reading the Koran and watching videos calling him to wage Muslim warfare against infidels that Johnson stabbed a 13-year-old boy to death and seriously injured two others at a birthday slumber party on Monday. According to police, Johnson said that on Monday he woke at 4 a.m. and felt an urge at Kyle Bancroft’s home to kill kyle’s mother, Elaine Simon, Kyle’s brother, Dane Bancroft (13), and friend Jovanni Sierra (13). All three were sleeping at the time. An affidavit stated, "In his statement, Johnson advised he stabbed the victims because of his Muslim faith."
On the evening before the attack, Johnson and Kyle Bancroft watched violent jihadist videos. Later, Johnson used a knife he had brought to the residence to stab Sierra multiple times before ultimately slitting the victim’s throat. The affidavit stated, "In his statement, Johnson advised he stabbed the victims because of his Muslim faith."
Jovanni Sierra Brand was stabbed to death Monday morning in Palm Beach Gardens staying over at a friend’s house. His 13th birthday was Monday. They celebrated Sunday. Here’s a video of the celebration. @WPTV pic.twitter.com/NG2SMjDCwj— Andrew Lofholm (@AndrewLofholm) March 14, 2018
When the mother, Elaine Simon, heard the boy Jovanni Sierra’s moans, she walked upstairs at about 6 a.m. It was then that Johnson allegedly lunged at her, stabbing her about a dozen times until she fell down the stairs. Dane Bancroft was stabbed 32 times when he tried to defend his mother, according to media reports. “He’s a hero," the boy's father said during an interview with the Palm Beach Post. “He saved his mom."
While Sierra was pronounced dead at the scene, Elaine Simon and Dane Bancroft were hospitalized. Simon was in good condition as of Tuesday. Kyle Bancroft was not harmed in the incident.
Simon ran to a neighbor’s house to call 911. A neighbor said that Simon reported that Johnson had a knife and was a “murderer.” By 8 a.m., Johnson was arrested after briefly holing up in his room.
Police say 17-year-old suspect Corey Johnson stabbed a mother 12 times, then her son 30+ times as he tried to save her at a home in Palm Beach Gardens. Second juvenile, Giovanni Brand, died of stab wounds. https://t.co/uVDRan75Tf pic.twitter.com/hHOqZiRSed— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) March 13, 2018
In an effort to explain his behavior, Johnson told law enforcement that he was angry with Jovanni Sierra for calling celebrities “gods”, explaining that this is contrary to Islam. He also claimed that Dane Bancroft ridiculed Islam. According to an affidavit, Johnson told police that he consulted the Koran before going to the slumber party in order "to give him courage to carry out his intentions.”
Before the attack, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office had already received information that Johnson had contacted the terrorist ISIS organization online while saying he wanted to join. In response, law enforcement authorities probed Johnson’s behavior by tracking his movements and his use of social media. They also interviewed his family. He was also under investigation for various threats that caused the October 2016 evacuation of a school in the United Kingdom. Charges had already been planned against Johnson for the threats against the British school before the attack on Monday.
Johnson was a student at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, but had recently withdrawn.
Birthday pizza party held for Jovanni Sierra on March 11