Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that police are investigating the case as a homicide. The charges of second-degree murder against the seven youth involved have not yet been proven in court.
The family of a Edmonton teenager who was killed outside his school is calling for those involved to be charged as adults.
Seven teens are facing second-degree murder charges in the death of 16-year-old Karanveer Sahota, and while his family said they are satisfied with that, they want the justice system to go further.
“While nothing will ever bring Karan back to our physical side, our healing process begins with getting Karan justice,” said Monica Binns, Sahota’s cousin.
“Our family is more than satisfied with the police’s forthwith response, and the quality and integrity with the way they are running their investigation,” Binns said.
“Since April 8, our family has been living a nightmare trying to navigate world without our Karan,” said Shivleen Sidhu, also Sahota’s cousin. “Our Karan was tragically taken from us.
“We are now left with only memories of Karan that we chase from the moment we get up to the moment we go to sleep.”
Because they are underage, the seven teens facing charges can’t be named, but Edmonton police said a 17-year-old girl and two boys that are 15 and 16 were charged on Thursday.
Four other boys — two 14 year olds, a 15 year old and a 16 year old — were formally charged with second-degree murder on Friday.
Binns said that the family feels the charges are appropriate.
“We put our full trust into the Edmonton Police Service,” she said.
Sidhu and Binns said Saturday that they are pushing for those involved to be charged as adults.
“These seven individuals (killed) our little cousin. He was an innocent person,” said Sidhu. “This was not an accident.
“(They) need to be punished as adults,” she said. “If they are not, this will be a grave injustice to Karan.”
Binns said while the family is hopeful that the justice system will prevail, they are also calling for the families of the accused teens — who she says are also part of the South Asian community — to step up.
“In our culture, and in our community, when a child becomes a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer — their parents come forward and take responsibility for their child’s success.
“When these same parents are raising monsters, they need to step up and take responsibility for that as well.”
Binns added there has been no apology from any of the other families involved.
“These parents have spent their time making excuses for their children and trying to protect them from the law. That is grossly wrong.
“The parents need to take accountability, too.”
Sidhu said that she believes the tragedy was preventable and Sahota’s family is struggling to accept what happened.
The family is grateful for the support they have received.
“The South Asian community, along with the residents of Edmonton, have provided our family with so many words and gestures of kindness and support that we are left speechless,” Binns said.
They add they are touched by the support for a GoFundMe for Sahota’s family — which has raised over $230,000 as of Saturday afternoon.
“They don’t have to worry about working, they can just focus on healing and living for their daughter,” Binns said.
–With files from Karen Bartko, Global News