A 16-year-old boy who died after an assault outside an Edmonton high school is being remembered as a happy, passionate and supportive teen with a bright future.
Karanveer Sahota was assaulted as he waited for the bus outside McNally High School in the community of Forest Heights on April 8. He died in hospital one week later.
The homicide unit is investigating and an autopsy is expected Wednesday to determine the cause of death.
His family is in shock, wondering how such a tragedy could occur.
“He was a good kid,” said his cousin, Monica Binns. “After this tragedy happened we had to ask some tough questions of his friends and they said he didn’t even have a girlfriend, he didn’t do drugs, he didn’t do anything that would bring shame upon his family.
“He was the strongest in the entire friend group, not only physically – he was 6’2 and he had just turned 16 not even a month ago – but emotionally, too and mentally they said he was the strongest. He wanted to be a role model and just a good kid.”
Karan, as he was known to his family, had a passion for cooking, loved producing music and was a source of support for his mother and sister.
“He sees his mom’s struggles so for him it was very important to help his mom any way he could,” said Binns.
“He would do that by not asking for much and not putting much pressure on her… He didn’t ask for many things. He couldn’t wait to grow up and take some of that burden off his mom.”
Cousin Shivleen Sidhu said they’re looking for closure from the justice system.
“Our first question is why? Why our Karan? Monica said this the best — bad things don’t happen to good people like Karan. So we want to know why, and we can’t ask Karan why, and the only people that can give us answers are the assailants and we want to know why.
“This is so tragic, horrendous and senseless and our little Karan will never come back but our healing starts with the justice system.”
Binns said she can’t get over the viciousness of the attack.
“I’m sure he’s had people he doesn’t get along with, he’s not an angel… There was no need for weapons. … It was unnecessary.”
Investigators said several youth suspects have been identified and more information will be forthcoming.
Binns wants the parents of the accused to take responsibility.
“I feel that the parents of these assailants need to step up and take responsibility for the child that they raised … And they can’t sit there and tell me that they didn’t know (or they didn’t play any part) in what happened.
“They haven’t reached out to us. We haven’t heard from them. There has been no apology and I can’t forgive that. So I feel that the parents need to be held just as responsible as the assailants.”
Grief counsellors are helping staff and students deal with the tragedy.
“Our sincere condolences to the family. Our hearts are certainly with them, with our McNally School community, with our students, our staff and everyone impacted by what really is the unimaginable,” said Edmonton Public Schools Supt. Darrel Robertson on Saturday afternoon.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said she was “heartbroken to hear of the tragic loss… I join school authorities across Alberta as we grieve with this student’s family, friends, and the school community,” she shared on Twitter Sunday.
“Edmonton Public Schools will have additional mental health and crisis supports available on site for students and staff, when school resumes on Wednesday, April 20.
“Any youth, family member, friend or school staff needing to talk to somebody can also contact the Mental Health Helpline 24-7 at 1-877-303-2642. Students can also reach out to the Kids Help Phone any time by texting CONNECT to 686868.”
Anyone with any information about this homicide is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at http://www.p3tips.com/250.
A fundraiser has been started for the family.
“Our lives have changed forever. We are in pieces, shattered, destroyed and we will never be the same,” said Sidhu.