The young man slain Tuesday night in Creekwood Park was "purely an innocent" victim, according to police.
Tylor Crippen, 18, was out for a walk with his girlfriend near Creekwood Park in east Modesto when he was robbed and stabbed to death shortly before 8:30 p.m.
A man and two juvenile males were arrested on suspicion of robbery and murder.
"This is a heartbreaking tragedy," said Modesto police Sgt. Rick Applegate. "This kid was killed for no other reason other than (the suspects) wanted what was in his pockets."
Arrested were Jacob Segura, 18, of Modesto, as well as a 16-year old and a 17-year-old whose names Applegate would not release because they are minors.
All three suspects are documented gang members, he said.
Applegate said there's no evidence the suspects knew Crippen or his girlfriend or that they were anything other than random targets.
"He sees these three suspects in the park and tries to avoid them," Applegate said. "When he runs, they chase him down and stab him to death."
The suspects focused their attention on Crippen; Applegate didn't believe the victim's girlfriend was physically harmed during the attack. Applegate said the suspects took belongings from the victim, but he wouldn't say what.
The three teens were arrested on suspicion of murder and robbery.
Crippen graduated from Johansen High School in 2012 and was attending Modesto Junior College.
His family was too devastated to talk about him with the media Wednesday.
The "about" section on Crippen's Facebook page reads, "Hey im Tylor, im 18, i love music and video games. Im a kinda shy person. want to know more? get to know me!"
His killing prompted the Empire Union School District to hire private security to patrol Bernard Hughes Elementary School, which borders Creekwood Park.
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Pamela Wall said armed security guards will patrol around the school, and Modesto police have pledged to increase patrols in the area.
Administrators previously had discussed hiring private security, but Tuesday night's stabbing accelerated the process. Patrol cars were circling the school Wednesday afternoon.
Wall said the elementary school has been on modified lockdown — meaning the threat is not directly on campus — two to three times a month over the past year because of an increase in criminal activity at the park. She said that most often, the lockdowns are a result of fights that usually happen when Johansen lets out and students spill into the area.
The security guards will patrol the area indefinitely, Wall said.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.
Bee Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.
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