7 youths charged with second-degree murder in death of Edmonton high school student
Victim, accused knew each other but no evidence of gang involvement, police say
Seven teenagers — six boys and a girl — have been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a 16-year-old Edmonton high school student.
Karanveer Sahota, a Grade 10 student at McNally High School, was waiting for a bus on the afternoon of April 8 when he was assaulted.
Sahota and the seven accused were known to each other, Edmonton police said Friday.
Police said the assault is believed to be an escalation of violence between two rival groups but that there is no evidence of gang involvement.
Sahota died in hospital April 15. An autopsy confirmed the cause of death was a stab wound to the chest.
"Any loss of life is tragic," Supt. Shane Perka of the Edmonton Police Service's criminal investigations division said at a news conference Friday.
"The loss of a youth, in such a manner, is nearly unheard of in our city. To say it has been difficult is an understatement."
Perka said Sahota suffered multiple stab wounds in the attack.
The teens charged include six boys — two 14-year-olds, two 15-year-olds and two 16-year-olds — and a 17-year-old girl. The girl is also charged with attempted obstruction.
The charges were all upgraded to second-degree murder after the victim died and an autopsy was completed, Perka said.
Not gang-related: police
Police said six youths were originally charged with attempted murder in relation to the assault on Sahota. They were arrested over the course of several days the week after the incident. A warrant was issued for the seventh youth.
The investigation was incredibly complex, Perka said, but the influx of information provided by the public helped police identify all seven suspects.
"There is nothing to indicate that this involved gang activity whatsoever," Perka said. "These were just high school youths that had a bit of a history of disagreeing with each other."
Police do not anticipate further charges, Perka said.
Police could not say definitively which of the charged teenagers will be remanded into custody, but each will go through the bail-hearing process. The five teenagers who appeared before a judge Friday were granted bail. They will next appear in court May 13.
A publication ban imposed Friday afternoon protected the names of the seven accused and of the victim, whose name had already been made public with permission from his family.
CBC News successfully challenged the publication ban, resulting in the judge allowing Sahota's name to be published.
The seven accused cannot be named to protect their identities as minors.
With files from Julia Wong, Janice Johnston, Nicholas Frew and Dave Howell