20-year-old arrested in connection with boy's killing on Surrey bus

Apr 17 2023, 9:12 pm

Investigators say they’ve made an arrest and a murder charge has been laid in connection with the killing of 17-year-old Ethan Bespflug on a Surrey transit bus last week.

The British Columbia Prosecution Service (BCPS) laid a charge of second degree murder against 20-year-old, Kaiden Mintenko, who remains in custody.

Police are still determining the relationship between the suspect and victim, but Sgt. Timothy Pierotti of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) said Ethan knew the 20-year-old prior to the attack “through a third party.”

Pierotti added, they know the killing wasn’t random and the suspect was known to police.

Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards with the Surrey RCMP shared his condolences to Bespflug’s friends and family.

“For all these years of being a police officer I still struggle with this senselessness of certain crimes — this is one of those crimes,” he said.

Bespflug was stabbed on board a bus in Surrey on April 11, and rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries where he later died. The incident took place last Tuesday around 9:30 pm near King George Boulevard and 100th Avenue. 

Police said initial information suggested the incident was targeted, isolated, and not connected to gang activity.

His mother, Holly Indridson, told Daily Hive that Bespflug was a wonderful older brother, friend and son. 

“He was always caring about everyone else,” she said. “He was my little buddy.”

She was tracking his phone location while waiting to pick up him from the bus stop last week when she noticed his blue dot had gone off course — and wound up at Royal Columbian Hospital. She rushed to the healthcare centre to learn her son had been attacked.

This month alone, there have been several stabbings on Surrey transit. 

Earlier this month, a stranger attacked a man while boarding, slicing his throat in a disturbing random attack

That victim was seriously injured but survived, and the suspect is facing terrorism and attempted murder charges.

This weekend, a young man on board a train at Surrey Central SkyTrain Station was brought to hospital with a stab wound to his abdomen.

However, Chief Officer Dave Jones with Metro Vancouver Transit Police emphasized, “this is an anomaly.”

“[TransLink] moves hundreds of thousands of people every day.There was no commonality between all of the events that occur in separate incidents.”

Following the series of violent attacks onboard Metro Vancouver’s public transit network, TransLink announced it would stepped up its patrols in crime hotspots.

Last week, CEO Kevin Quinn also reiterated the forthcoming addition of 24 community safety officers that will be added to the Transit Police department. The community safety officers will be unarmed, performing duties such as community engagement, transit safety education, evidence collection, perimeter security at police incidents, crowd control, fare enforcement, and support at large events.

Anyone feeling unsafe while on public transit can text Transit Police dispatch at 87-77-77 for non-emergency incidents. For cases of emergency, call 911.

For those who are onboard SkyTrain, they can also press the “silent alarm” yellow strip found along the span of every window frame inside the trains. If this strip button is pressed, SkyTrain attendants will be immediately dispatched for assistance.

Ethan’s mother said she wants to see more security on Metro Vancouver transit to stop incidents like her son’s in the future.

Bespflug had just wrapped up his Grade 10 studies at Bakerview Centre for Learning and was due to graduate next year. 

Two of Bespflug’s aunts, one who’s Indridson’s sister and another on his father’s side, have each arranged online fundraisers to help with funeral costs for the family. 

With files from Megan Devlin and Sarah Anderson 

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