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Memphis school principal found dead in classroom; student held

By the CNN Wire Staff
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School principal found dead in classroom
  • Suzette York, 49, was found dead in a classroom Wednesday
  • The cause of York's death is unknown; police detain a 17-year-old student
  • Officers responded to a call at Memphis Junior Academy around 11:15 a.m.

(CNN) -- The principal of a small private school in Memphis, Tennessee, was found dead in a classroom Wednesday, Memphis police said.

Suzette York, 49, was lying in a pool of blood at Memphis Junior Academy, according to the city fire department.

Police have detained a 17-year-old student in connection with the death, which has been deemed a homicide, police said. No charges had been filed Wednesday evening.

"It's tragic all the way around," Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. said outside the school.

The school is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, officials said.

York, who had been the principal of the school since 2008, has a family in Memphis, said Marvin Lowman, communications director for the Seventh-day Adventist Conference in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

Officers responded to a call at 11:15 a.m.

"Upon arrival on the scene, officers located a deceased female inside of a classroom. The circumstances leading up to this incident are unknown at this time," Sgt. Alyssa Macon-Moore, a police spokeswoman, told reporters outside the school.

A prayer vigil was held later Wednesday.

Former student Kristen Bridges said York was an exemplary biology and math teacher.

"Past the teaching, she loved God," Bridges told CNN affiliate WREG. "And she showed that in everything she did."

CNN's Rick Martin contributed to this report.