Several teenagers are now facing upgraded charges after a boy was stabbed outside an east Edmonton high school on April 8 and later died in hospital.
Edmonton police said three of them — 17-year-old girl and two boys that are 15 and 16 — were charged on Thursday. The girl is also facing an obstruction charge after the incident outside McNally High School.
Four other boys — two 14 year olds, a 15 year old and a 16 year old — were formally charged with second-degree murder on Friday.
Because all of the accused are under the age of 18, their identity is protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
EPS criminal investigations division Supt. Shane Perka said Friday a publication ban was in effect on the victim’s name, due to all involved being underage.
“The Youth Criminal Justice Act prohibits the publication of a youth victim’s name when the offence is committed by another youth,” he said.
Global News has learned publication ban has since been lifted by the judge.
The victim and suspects were known to each other and it’s believed the attack was an escalation of violence between two rival groups, police said on Friday.
It was two weeks ago that 16-year-old Karanveer Sahota was stabbed in the chest while waiting for the bus outside the school at 8440-105 Ave. N.W.
Police responded at 2:44 p.m. on April 8 to reports of an assault at the school in the Forest Heights neighbourhood and arrived to find Sahota suffering from life-threatening injuries.
He was given first aid and taken to hospital, but died of his injuries a week later.
Six youths were initially charged with attempted murder in relation to the assault and were arrested over several days within the first week following the assault. A warrant for attempted murder was also issued for the seventh teenager, police said.
That information wasn’t released until deputy chief Kevin Brezinski was asked about it Thursday at the Edmonton Police Commission meeting, at which time he said the charges would be “upgraded in the very near future.”
On Friday, police formally announced they had been upgraded to second-degree murder. An autopsy done this past Wednesday revealed Sahota’s cause of death was a stab wound of the chest, and the manner of death was deemed homicide.
While speaking to the media about the homicide investigation on Friday afternoon, Perka said the integrity of the investigation has been of utmost importance.
“We know that there has been a lot of misinformation circulating since April 8 and we understand the public’s need for answers,” he said.
“Please know that our detectives have and continue to do everything they can to ensure the integrity of this investigation. Throughout, that has remained our priority,” he said, explaining that is why there was the youth suspects initially being charged with attempted murder was kept a secret.
“The attempted murder charges were very fluid throughout the first week, as we had to identify all seven suspects involved and had to coordinate with families and counsel to have them arrested over a period of days.”
He said an update on the investigation was not given sooner in order to make sure all seven could be tracked down and taken into custody.
Police and the Crown then had to wait for the autopsy to be complete on Wednesday before a decision on upgraded charges could be made, Perka said.
“Yesterday was the first day we coordinated efforts to re-arrest on the new charges, and did so on five of the seven youths,” Perka said.
The sixth was arrested Friday morning and the last teen turned themselves in Friday afternoon, he added.
— More to come…
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