Tsawwassen First Nation in shock after murder

Paramedics load one of the stabbing victims onto an air ambulance Friday night at Tsawwassen First Nation. - Mike Mackichan
Paramedics load one of the stabbing victims onto an air ambulance Friday night at Tsawwassen First Nation.
— image credit: Mike Mackichan

The Tsawwassen First Nation is in a state of shock after a vicious stabbing Friday night left a 16-year-old girl dead and a 15-year-old girl in hospital in critical condition.

Delta Police arrested a 17-year-old male suspect early Saturday in connection with the attack, charging him with second degree murder, as well as attempted murder.

Tsawwassen First Nations Chief Bryce Williams said in a prepared statement on Tuesday that his community is grieving the loss of one of their own.

"Late this past Friday evening, we lost one of our young members through tragic circumstances that we are trying to understand and deal with. The family and our community are devastated," he said. "For all of us at Tsawwassen First Nation, it is a time of pulling together to support each other and be the strong community we are. Our hearts are with the victims' families and friends, and we are here for them."

Williams thanked Delta Police for its handling of the incident, as well as the public for their support.

"We thank our many friends for their kind words in this trying time, [and] we appreciate people stepping up to help us deal with this tragic situation," he said. "We also send our prayers to the surviving victim and her family."

Police responded to a report of a stabbing at Tsawwassen First Nation at 10:10 p.m. on Feb. 15. Officers found two teenage girls suffering from stab wounds lying on the ground in front of a residence.

Both victims were treated at the scene by paramedics and fire personnel, and were subsequently rushed to hospital by air ambulance. The 16-year-old was later pronounced dead at Vancouver General Hospital.

As of Wednesday, the 15-year-old survivor of the attack was still in hospital, in stable condition.

Investigators from the Delta Police Department arrested the male suspect without incident around 11 a.m. Saturday morning at Tsawwassen First Nation.

Delta Police spokesperson Ciaran Feenan said police are working with the Tsawwassen First Nations community, providing victim services and support in the wake of the tragedy.

"This would impact any community," said Feenan at press conference Saturday afternoon. "This is a 16-year-old girl, and it's a tragic loss when young people are taken away so quickly.

"The Tsawwassen First Nation is a very, very tight knit group so this is going to be a very hard time for them. We are going to work with them collaboratively to make sure they have all the resources they need."

The 16-year-old victim was a former student at Delta Secondary School, according to teachers there.

However, Delta Police is not releasing the names of the victims in order to protect the identity of the male suspect, who the Youth Criminal Justice Act prevents from being named.

Feenan wouldn't speculate on the motive behind the stabbing, but said the investigation by Delta Police is ongoing.

"It doesn't appear to be a random attack," he said. "They knew each other, to what level, I'm not at liberty to speak to."

The male suspect made his first court appearance Monday morning to be arraigned on charges of second degree murder and attempted murder, and will be kept in custody while he awaits trial.

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