Hamid Aminzada fatally stabbed trying to break up confrontation at North Albion Collegiate
19-year-old Hamid Aminzada died in hospital, 17-year-old charged with 2nd-degree murder
Hamid Aminzada, a 19-year-old student who died from a stabbing inside a Toronto high school on Tuesday, had intervened in a hallway confrontation between two other students, police say.
"The victim was trying to defuse a situation between two other individuals … and it turned very, very tragic," Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner said Wednesday.
Aminzada, a recent immigrant to Canada from Afghanistan, died in hospital after the stabbing at North Albion Collegiate Institute, a high school with about 1,000 students that's in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke. Police said Aminzada had intervened in an argument between two other students and was stabbed multiple times.
A 17-year-old boy turned himself in to police on Tuesday evening accompanied by his lawyer and has been charged with second-degree murder. The boy, who cannot be named, made a brief court appearance Wednesday. His next scheduled court appearance is Oct. 14. He will remain in custody until at least then.
The stabbing happened after noon Tuesday in the hallway of the school at 2580 Kipling Ave., just north of Finch Avenue West.
The incident marked the first time a student has been killed inside a Toronto high school since 2007, when 15-year-old Jordan Manners was shot to death inside C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute.
Father fears for other children
The school's flag was at half-mast Wednesday while inside, students erected a memorial and grief counsellors were on hand as classes resumed.
Aminzada came from a large family. He was one of nine children and arrived in Canada a little more than two years ago from Afghanistan. He was in his second year at the school.
"He was a very great son, a very hard-working son," said his father, Sabir Aminzada, speaking through an interpreter. "He didn't only help in school — he was helping at home, his mother, his aunt, his uncle."
"We are very traumatized, very disappointed, very sad. It's hard to even give words right now for anybody to explain what's going on with us," he added.
Sobbing, he said he is afraid to let his other children go to school.
The family is hoping for a quick burial, in keeping with tradition, but say police have said the body might not be returned to them for at least two more days.
Metal detectors 'not the answer'
Principal Naeem Siddiq told reporters Aminzada was "quite focused on his family and his future" and "very involved, very kind and well-known to teachers and students."
He added that there was no indication that Aminzada had troubles with any other students.
"This is a sombre day for the entire TDSB community, especially the students and staff at North Albion, as we mourn the tragic loss of this young life," said Donna Quan, director of education for the Toronto District School Board.
Quan said school board staff will issue a report about the stabbing after the conclusion of the police investigation to determine if the school could have done anything differently to prevent the death.
Asked during a news conference whether the school should tighten security by installing metal detectors at entrances, Quan said metal detectors "are not the answer."
"We don’t want to create a situation where our students are patted down and checked before they enter schools," she said.
Quan said the school board believes building relationships between staff and students is a better route to prevent violence. She said that since the Manners killing seven years ago, schools have numbered all doors, formed safe school committees and boosted bullying prevention programs.