A 21-year-old man from Alberta has been charged in the tragic stabbing of two students at Abbotsford Senior Secondary school in BC on Tuesday.
Gabriel Brandon Klein has been charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault, after a 13-year-old girl died and a 14-year-old girl was injured in the attack.
The surviving girl is still in hospital in a stable condition, Sgt. Jennifer Pound said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“That girl will have a lengthy emotional and physical recovery ahead of her,” said Pound. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her, with the families and with the friends of both the girls.”
Pound also thanked school staff for their “selfless” actions in apprehending and restraining the suspect after the attack.
“This tragedy has left heavy hearts among all of them,” said Pound. “It is heroic, and it should be commended…We’re lucky not to have further individuals injured in this.”
According to Pound, very little is known of Klein, who has no criminal record, is of no fixed address, and seems to have no ties to the school.
Originally from Alberta, he is believed to have been in the Vancouver area since February or March this year.
Pound said evidence suggests the attack was completely random.
As a result, police are asking for the public’s assistance and are looking to speak with anyone who’s been in contact with Klein, whether online, on the phone or in person.
Klein will next appear in court on November 7 for a bail hearing.
Outpouring of sympathy
The stabbing has prompted an outpouring of sympathy across Canada, including messages from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier Christy Clark.
Police, paramedics, and fire rescue responded to a report of an assault just outside the library at the school in Abbotsford at about 2 pm on Tuesday.
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When first responders arrived at the scene, they found the two students with apparent stab wounds; they were rushed to hospital for treatment by air ambulance.
Police located and arrested a male suspect, who was being physically restrained by school staff members. He was taken to hospital, then moved to police custody, where he remains.
Abbotsford Senior Secondary School and Abbotsford Middle School were placed under under lockdown as a precaution.
Both schools are now closed until further notice, and the investigation into the attack is being handled by Metro Vancouver’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).
Public urged not to publish video
Pound also raised the issue of a video currently being circulated online and by various media outlets which shows one of the girls being stabbed.
She urged people to stop publishing and sharing the video, which she says shows the deceased 13-year-old girl, out of respect for the victims’ families.
“Everybody has a responsible to honour the pain and the tragedy that the family and the friends and the community as a whole is going through,” said Pound.
“The family is now forced to watch that occur [in the video],” said Pound. “It’s very, very tragic and difficult to process.”
Anyone with video, photos or information that could assist investigators is asked to contact IHIT at 1-877-551-4448 or Crime Stoppers’ at 1-800-222-8477, or at solvecrime.ca.