File photo: Denise Civiletti

A 16-year-old Riverhead High School student walking from the high school toward Route 58 this afternoon was attacked by a group of approximately five male youths wearing black ski masks, according to Riverhead Town Police.

A member of the group displayed a knife and demanded the victim’s personal belongings, police said.

A struggle ensued and the victim was cut in the chest with the knife, according to the report.

The incident took place behind Harbor Freight Tools, located in the Staples plaza, at approximately 1:33 p.m., police said.

The victim was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The perpetrators fled the area prior to police arrival, according to a police press release. The investigation, conducted by the Riverhead Town detective squad, is ongoing and anyone with additional information is urged to call 631-727-4500× 312. All calls will be kept confidential, police said.

The incident comes on the heels of comments by Riverhead school district trustee Laurie Downs at a civic association March 18, where Downs said “an enormous amount” of students walking home from school were being jumped and robbed. Riverhead Police Chief said the police department had not received any reports of such incidents. Downs attributed the attacks to Latino gangs, setting off a controversy that resulted in her resignation from the school board, which she announced this afternoon in a written statement emailed to the press.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.