7 youths charged with second degree murder in death of Edmonton high school student

Seven teenagers – six boys and one 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 knew each other, Edmonton police said Friday.

Police said the assault would be an escalation of violence between two rival groups, but there was no evidence of gang involvement.

Sahota died in hospital on April 15. An autopsy confirmed the cause of death to be a stab wound to the chest.

“Any loss of life is tragic,” the superintendent said. Shane Perka of the Edmonton Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division said Friday at a news conference.

“Losing a youngster in such a way is almost unprecedented in our city. To say it has been difficult is an understatement.”

Perka said Sahota suffered multiple stab wounds in the attack.

The teenagers 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 performed, Perka said.

Non-Gang Related: Police

Police said six youths were initially charged with attempted murder in connection with the assault on Sahota. They were arrested over several days the week after the incident. A warrant has been issued for the seventh teenager.

The investigation was incredibly complex, Perka said, but the influx of information provided by the public helped police identify the seven suspects.

“There was no indication that it involved any gang activity,” Perka said. “They were just high school kids who had a bit of a habit of disagreeing with each other.”

Police do not anticipate any further charges, Perka said.

Police could not say for sure which of the charged teenagers will be remanded in custody, but each will go through the bail hearing process. The five teenagers who appeared before a judge on Friday have been released on bail. They will then appear in court on May 13.

A publication ban imposed on Friday afternoon protected the names of the seven defendants and the victim, whose name had already been made public with the permission of his family.

CBC News successfully challenged the publication ban, leading the judge to allow publication of Sahota’s name.

The seven defendants cannot be named to protect their identity as minors.