Four teens are currently in custody in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old boy outside a Hamilton high school on Monday afternoon.
Investigators say 14-year-old Devan Selvey was attacked shortly before 1:30 p.m. outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, located near Main Street East and Walter Avenue South.
First responders found the teen on school grounds suffering from life-threatening injuries and he was rushed to hospital for treatment but later died.
Multiple people witnessed the attack, including Selvey’s mother, police said.
Four teens have been arrested in connection with the homicide.
An 18-year-old male and a 14-year-old male were charged with first-degree murder in a Hamilton courtroom on Tuesday.
“At this point, I can tell you that we are satisfied based on evidence that there is some element of pre-planning… and premeditation to this homicide,” Det.- Sgt. Steve Bereziuk said while updating reporters about the case on Tuesday afternoon.
Two other suspects, a 16-year-old male and a 16-year-old female, have also been taken into custody but have not yet been formally charged with murder.
“We have a pretty good picture of what’s going on…. We have two people in custody right now that we are looking forward to speaking with to try to find out more of the truth,” Bereziuk said.
He confirmed that the victim and all of the suspects were students at the high school.
'Numerous' witnesses have come forward
As of Monday night, the knife used in the deadly stabbing had not yet been recovered but Bereziuk confirmed that officers have since located the murder weapon.
He said he could not provide many details about how the attack unfolded as the case is now before the courts.
“I’m not going to comment on… the relationship between the victim, the accused. It is something we continue to investigate right now,” he said.
When asked about reports that videos of the attack have surfaced online, Bereziuk urged anyone with footage of the homicide to come forward.
“I would discourage anybody from passing that information along through social media or any other context for that matter because it could be evidence,” he said.
“Numerous” witnesses have already contacted investigators to assist in the case, Bereziuk added.
“I think this is one of these investigations that hits the heart of the community. It is very serious and people sympathize,” he said.
Bereziuk called the incident “disturbing” and “difficult to comprehend.”
“I can’t imagine the way the family feels right now, the family of the victim. I have yet to meet with the family. They continue to grieve,” he said. “We are focused on the homicide investigation and holding those accountable for the death of a young 14-year-old.”
One woman, who identified herself only as Alice, told reporters that she saw the child’s mother immediately following the incident on Monday afternoon.
“She couldn’t stop crying. She had two people beside her, holding her because she was shaking,” she said. “I had a rough night myself. Can you imagine a mother watching her son die on the sidewalk?”
School board won't confirm if bullying was factor
Manny Figueiredo, the director of education for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, said grief counsellors and social workers were at the school today to offer support to students and staff.
“People are feeling a range of emotions and we want to be present not only for the staff but we also want to be present for our students so they can express how they are feeling,” he told reporters on Tuesday morning.
He said the school’s principal did not witness the stabbing but rushed outside when he was informed about the incident and saw the injured student.
“We will continue to work with our police partners on trying to understand what happened in this incident because it is a tragic loss of life. I can only imagine what the mother is experiencing at this point in time,” Figueiredo said.
He would not say if bullying is believed to be a factor in the deadly stabbing.
“When I speak broadly around bullying, is bullying an issue in our society, in our schools? Yes,” Figueiredo said. “And we do have to continue to work around putting positive measures in place so kids can express their feelings and find peaceful solutions to resolve their problems.”