Slain Barnard College Student Remembered As Talented Musician And Aspiring Writer Who Was 'Going To Go Places'

“Tess was a light that shined brightly and our hearts will never be the same,” Tessa Majors' grieving family said in a statement.

By Jill Sederstrom
Digital Original
College Student Stabbed To Death In NYC Park

Tessa Majors had spent the first few months at Barnard College pursuing her passions: writing and music. But the 18-year-old's life would be cut short Wednesday night when she was stabbed to death during an apparent robbery-gone-wrong in New York City's Morningside Park.

Two senior law enforcement officials confirmed the arrest Friday of a 13-year-old in connection with the the slaying and authorities are still searching for other suspects, according to WNBC. Oxygen.com is not naming the teen because of his age. 

As the NYPD continue their investigation, those who knew the 18-year-old are now left grieving a life filled with promise.

“Tess was a light that shined brightly and our hearts will never be the same,” her family said in a statement according to TODAY.

Majors’ grandmother Martha Burton told People the family is still grappling with the sudden loss of the aspiring writer. They had been expecting her to return to her Charlottesville, Virginia home on winter break. Now they’ll never see her alive again.

“She had a younger brother, two years younger,” Burton said. “I am praying for him. They were so close, I never saw them fight. It’s so hard for him.”

She described her granddaughter as a talented musician who had written and performed an original song for her grandparent’s 68-year anniversary earlier this summer.

“Tessa was a beautiful person, she was very talented,” Burton said. “She played guitar, mandolin and piano. She invented songs and melodies and was real talented.”

Majors pursued her love of music in New York where she was on scholarship at Barnard College, playing with the band Patient 0. She had her first show in New York in October, according to her Instagram.

Majors had been slated to play in two more shows over break in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, according to The New York Post.

“She had bleached blonde hair. She had a great look — a rocker, wore fishnet stockings, plaid skirt, chunky shoes. She looked like a punk rocker,” said Jeyon Falsini, the assistant manager of The Southern Café and Music Hall where Majors played in the past.

Falsini said you could tell the 18-year-old was “going to go places.”

“She was amazing, a great performer. For someone so young, she had a commanding presence,” Falsini said.

Majors had been “real happy” in New York and was enjoying the first months of college, her grandmother told People.

In her application to attend Barnard, a women’s liberal arts college, Majors described herself as a “avid feminist” who had tried to bridge the gender divide by speaking out in classes and taking a course on social justice, WNBC reports.

“I enjoy taking difficult classes and feel invigorated when forced outside of my intellectual comfort zone,” she wrote. “I embrace the culture of positivity and growth at Barnard.”

But her life would be cut short Wednesday by an act of brutality.

She had been jogging down a set of steps at Morningside park when a group of teenagers tried to rob her and take her phone, WABC reports.

"During the struggle, one of the individuals pulled out a knife and stabbed her several times," NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told WNBC. "She staggered her way up the street. One of the security guards saw her and called 911."

It would be too late. Majors was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.

“We are all grieving, and trying to grasp the senseless tragedy that took Tess from us,” Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock said, according to Today.

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