An 18-year-old and a 14-year-old have been charged with first-degree murder after another 14-year-old was stabbed in front of Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Hamilton.
The boy was attacked just before 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday while he was with his mother.
The two males will appear at the John Sopinka Courthouse later Tuesday. Their names as well as the name of the victim haven’t been made public.
In a news release, Hamilton police said that around 6 p.m. Monday, a third male youth was arrested in Hamilton’s ninth homicide of 2019. Police said the youth was interviewed and released unconditionally once his “involvement in the investigation was established.”
Police are searching for two more teens who may have been involved, describing them as:
- A girl in her early teens with long black hair, wearing black shoes with white stripes and white laces as well as a black coat with “possibly” a black T-shirt underneath with white writing.
- A boy, also in his early teens, who was wearing dark pants and a grey long-sleeved shirt and white shoes, and with a black backpack.
A weapon has not yet been recovered. Police are asking area residents who find anything suspicious on their properties not to touch them and to call 911 immediately.
“When I look at this … it’s a complete disregard for human life, which is extremely concerning for people of such a young age,” said Det.-Sgt. Steve Bereziuk, in a news conference Monday evening.
Bereziuk said the stabbing was captured on video, which police are reviewing.
The detective would not say why the teen’s mother was near the school, in the city’s east end, but said she was not hurt in the attack.
“She’s witnessed something horrible here. She’s distraught. She’s devastated.”
Police responded around 1:23 p.m. to what was originally described as a “serious assault,” and put Winston Churchill and four other area schools under lockdown. Just over two hours later, Hamilton police announced that the student had died.
The community is in shock, and “our hearts are broken,” said Manny Figueiredo, director of education at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), in a statement Monday evening.
Alice Smith, who has lived just down the road from the school for the past 14 years, said she was sitting in her front sunroom with her husband on Monday afternoon when five teens came around the corner, with a car following close behind.
Smith said it appeared to her the woman in the car was trying to help the boy.
“She said she tried to save him, but she just couldn’t do it,” Smith said. “She was very upset. She couldn’t stop crying.”
Kandace Brenn, who also lives in the area, said she knew the victim and he had been a visitor to her house. She described him as a “sweet, quiet kid” who kept to himself.
She said her niece called her to give her a lift. The niece wanted Brenn to drive her and her best friend to the Hamilton General Hospital emergency room, where the victim had been taken. Both girls are students at the high school, and her niece’s friend was the victim’s girlfriend said Brenn.
“As soon as I got to them, I just started breaking down, ’cause I knew it was bad, the look on their faces. She couldn’t even breathe.”
In the car on the way to the hospital, she said the friend described finding the victim unconscious and bleeding. Later she got a call from her niece that he hadn’t survived.
“She doesn’t know how to cope she doesn’t know how to help her best friend through it,” said Brenn.
Brenn said the victim had a rough start to high school, with bullying and being picked on. But she did not know if that had any connection to what happened Monday.
Officers will stay in the area for the majority of the day, processing evidence and canvassing.