'We’re so heartbroken': Friends of stabbing victims react, boy killed on birthday

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'We’re so heartbroken': Friends of stabbing victims react, boy killed on birthday. (WPEC)

We’re learning more about the 13-year-old boy victim who was killed while he slept, and what may have set off the accused killer.

“I’ve been sick to my stomach,” said Maria Pishos, a friend of Jovanni Sierra’s family. “I can’t imagine as a mother what she’s going through.”

Pishos describes Jovanni as a little gentleman. A smart, sweet boy with a contagious smile. Maria met his mother, Karen Abreu, after working together at Jonathan T. Salon in Palm Beach Gardens.

“We’re so heartbroken. Karen and her family are amazing people.” Maria tells CBS12 Jovanni Sierra celebrated his birthday Sunday with family and friends. After dinner, Jovanni Sierra asked his mother to sleep over at Dane Bancroft’s house that Sunday night.

It was the last time he saw his family.

The tragedy has students at Watson B. Duncan Middle School in disbelief. CBS12 met some students who knew Jovanni, and are friends with Dane, who is in 7th grade.

Dane was stabbed more than 30 times after he ran to protect his mother, Elaine Simon, who was also attacked. Messages of love and support for Dane are all over social media, who’s described as a hero.

According to the police report, the murder suspect felt Dane made fun of his Muslim faith and practices, and that Jovanni was idolizing famous people and referred to them as gods which went against the suspect’s beliefs.

“A lot of people are obviously really upset this happened,” said Ivy Correa, 7th grader at Watson B. Duncan Middle School.

We’re told Simon remains at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach in ‘good condition.’ The hospital could not comment on Dane’s condition since he is a minor.

“I have two sons and I just finished telling them, don’t ever ask me to have a sleepover anybody’s house because it’s not happening. You just don’t know,” said Maria Pishos.

Maria set up a GoFundMe Page to help the family with funeral expenses.