EDMONTON — Police have charged seven youths with second-degree murder in the death of a 16-year-old boy who was assaulted outside an Edmonton high school earlier this month.
The teen was stabbed in the chest and died a week later in hospital.
The youths who have been charged, six boys and one girl, are between the ages of 14 and 17. The girl is also charged with obstruction.
"We believe there were two groups that kind of had an ongoing bit of a rivalry or a feud between each other ... but it never escalated to violence in this fashion," Edmonton police Supt. Shane Perka told a news conference Friday.
"These were just high school youths that had a bit of a history of disagreeing with each other, but nothing to indicate this was gang-motivated or gang-related."
Perka wouldn't say if the two groups attended different schools.
Six of the youths were initially charged with attempted murder following the stabbing April 8. A warrant on the same charge was issued for the seventh youth.
Their charges were all upgraded after the teen died on April 15 and an autopsy was completed Wednesday.
Perka said the case is sensitive and complex and has affected people in the community as well as investigators.
He said officers interviewed several witnesses and reviewed video footage. Five of the suspects were rearrested Thursday, a sixth on Friday morning and the final one turned himself into police an hour before the news conference.
They were all to remain in custody until their bail hearings.
Perka, calling it unimaginable and heartbreaking, said it's difficult to understand how a rivalry between two groups could escalate to violence.
"It was a senseless act that a lot of us are still trying to process."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2022.
— By Bill Graveland in Calgary
The Canadian Press