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A 14-year-old boy was stabbed to death in front of his mother outside his Canadian high school, allegedly in a dispute over a stolen bicycle..
Devan Selvey was killed on Monday, allegedly by a group of teens who chased him down and knifed him to death while his mother looked on from a nearby vehicle. The stabbing occurred outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, a city of roughly half a million, about 40 miles southwest of Toronto.
Authorities responded to reports of the school stabbing shortly before 1:30 p.m. Monday, according to a Hamilton police press release. The injured teen was transported to a hospital where he later died.
Two teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the knife attack. The accused pair, ages 14 and 18, are reportedly brothers, according to Global TV, a Canadian broadcaster. The identity of the accused 18-year-old has been withheld due to a court-ordered publication ban under the Canadian Youth Criminal Justice Act.
While authorities have released little information due to the young ages of Selvey and his accused killers, a police spokesperson told Oxygen.com that detectives are working “non-stop” on the case. A motive hasn’t yet been released.
However, Keven Ellis, a community organizer who is in touch with Selvey’s family, told Oxygen.com that the altercation stemmed from a dispute over Selvey’s bicycle, which the teen thought had been stolen by his suspected killers.
When Selvey thought he spotted his bicycle on Sir Winston Churchill’s campus, he called his mother, who drove to the school to investigate. The teen was speaking with his mother at her vehicle on school property when he was confronted by his alleged attackers, who tossed a bear spray bomb in his direction. The device supposedly detonated, and he was stabbed a short time later.
“The loss of a child is just so devastating — what compounds it is that this mother witnessed it,” Ellis, 58, said. “She seen it happen.”
“His mother, she was inches away, she could have reached him and grabbed him had she had any inkling of what was about to happen,” Ellis explained. “He ran. They chased him. And they murdered him. And these are children — these are kids killing kids.”
Police, who suspect the incident was filmed by a number of onlookers, have encouraged students to come forward with any footage they might have, and warned against sharing it online.
Two other 16-year-olds were also arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing, but have since been released, officials confirmed. All suspects, police said, are current or former students of the school.
“We’re satisfied right now of their level of involvement and we’re not going to proceed with charges at this time,” Sgt Steve Bereziuk told Oxygen.com. “It doesn’t completely close the door to it, however, as we continue to investigate the incident.”
Bereziuk called the alleged stabbing “incomprehensible,” and characterized the attack as a “complete and total disregard for human life.”
“Many people have children, they expect them to be safe when they go to school, not killed — and to be killed at the hands of other students, is what’s scary,” Bereziuk added.
Manny Figueiredo, director of education at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, told Oxygen.com the school community was “shocked and grieving.”
“This is just so tragic. It’s a senseless act of violence and it’s so uncommon.”
The school was reopened yesterday, following the stabbing, Figueiredo said. He noted that the administration has brought in a crisis response and prevention team, social workers, a police liaison, as well as additional teachers and educational assistants to support the school’s students in the aftermath of the incident.
“The safest place for our students to be is back in school,” he added.
Ellis described Selvey, who had only begun ninth grade weeks earlier, as a “calm, loving, kid” who adored old cars, campfires, music, and the color purple. Based on his fascination for vintage automobiles, the 14-year-old aspired to be a mechanic, but he was also shy, family and friends said.
"Once he warms up to you, it's phenomenal because he just smiles," Kandace Brenn, who knew Selvey and lived near the school where the stabbing took place, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Early in the school year, Selvey supposedly complained about being bullied to his mother. School administration were notified, but the victim’s family claims no action was taken. Now, some community members in the small Canadian city are questioning whether the school took the appropriate steps to protect Selvey in the aftermath of the bullying allegations.
“100 percent the school was told about the bullying and no help was provided to him,” Ellis said.
Ellis, whose children attended Selvey’s school, is organizing a vigil for the teen on Wednesday night. An early intervention by school officials, he said, could have saved the young man’s life.
Selvey’s sister also claimed her brother had been bullied in a post on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe.
“Devan tried to get help with the bullying he was experiencing,” Karissa Selvey wrote. “He was our world!”
Figueiredo, the director of education, acknowledged that a bullying complaint had been made earlier this school year, but was unable to specify why the allegations weren’t followed. He said his school district is re-examining why no action was initially taken and are conducting an inquiry into policies and protocols when incidents of bullying are reported.
School officials described the knifing as “so out of the norm.” There were 183 people killed in knife attacks last year in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. School shootings and stabbings, however, remain overly rare.
The teen suspects accused in the killing have since been arraigned and are expected back in court on Oct. 21.
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