The victim of a botched robbery in New Westminster died in hospital Friday after spending his final days, including his 19th birthday, in a coma.
Sgt. Bari Emam, with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said Karim Meskine died with his family by his side, days after a passerby found him unconscious near 23rd Street and 8th Avenue.
A 16-year-old was arrested shortly after the attack and, on Thursday, was charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. At the time, Meskine was still alive, although in a coma with a poor prognosis.
Emam said the youth may now face additional charges.
"Karim was the innocent victim of an unprovoked attack," Emam said in a written statement issued Friday night.
"Karim’s family are devastated by this incident and are at a loss for words. This is one of the saddest cases I have been a part of all these years at IHIT," he said.
IHIT investigators will meet with Crown counsel over the coming week, Emam said.
Quiet, serene and religious
Kevin Jacinto told CBC News that he knew Meskine for more than eight years, and that they both attended École Gabrielle-Roy in Surrey together.
Meskine loved to play soccer, and had dreams of being a top player, but most people saw him as a kind, calm soul, Jacinto said.
'I'm really glad to have had him in my life... he impacted me drastically.' - Kevin Jacinto, friend of Karim Meskine
"He was just a really quiet guy," he said. "He was quiet, but just his presence, you could feel it, he could make the room a whole lot livelier, and just a happy atmosphere."
"He could cheer you up just with a smile or just by looking at you, you know?" he said.
The two kept in touch a bit after graduation in 2012, and Jacinto said the last time they chatted, Meskine was in Montreal visiting friends and family.
"I was supposed to hang out with him this week but, sadly, things happen," Jacinto said.
Meskine's friend also said his religion, Islam, was very important to him.
"I admire him because he defended it, and he was just, you know, he respected his ideals, and he was just a real wonderful human being," Jacinto said.
"I'm really glad to have had him in my life because he made a big change [in me] and he impacted me drastically. Thanks to him, I'm a whole lot better," he said. "So wherever he is now, I just want to thank him and want to thank his family and just tell them that I'm here for them in prayer and thoughts."
A Facebook page created in memory of Meskine late Friday night noted that Thursday, Dec. 19, was his final birthday.
It also said a trust fund has been established to collect donations to help cover burial costs.