Campbell River youth charged in man's death

A 17-year-old youth from Campbell River has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of an 18-year-old man on Saturday night.

Campbell River RCMP Sgt. Troy Beauregard said today the death is being investigated as a homicide.

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The 17-year-old youth, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, appeared in court today and he will be held in custody until Wednesday morning.

“This was not a random act of violence and the suspect and victim were known to each other,” Beauregard said in a press release Sunday.

Police responded to Penfield Elementary School in the 500-block of Hilchey Road after receiving a 911 call just before midnight on Saturday, said Staff Sgt. Troy Beauregard in a press release Sunday afternoon.

Officers found an injured 18-year-old and performed first aid until B.C. Ambulance paramedics arrived. The victim was rushed to Campbell River Hospital but despite resuscitation attempts by emergency personnel, he was pronounced dead.

Beauregard did not say who called 911 or if other youth were around at the time of the death.

All available police resources, including a canine team, responded to the scene and searched for a suspect, Beauregard said.

The 17-year-old youth was identified and located shortly after.

The victim’s name was not released. His family is being supported by Campbell River RCMP victim services.

Police did not disclose what led to the death or if any weapons were used.

“The investigation is actively being pursued. As such, no further details will be able to be released at this time,” Beauregard said.

Sharon Turner-Rondquist, who lives on Hilchey Road near the elementary school, said her 17-year-old son was walking a friend home late Saturday night when he heard the blazing sirens of police cars and then an ambulance head toward the field of the school.

“He said police were jumping out and they had flashlights,” Turner-Rondquist said.

Turner-Rondquist spent many years on the Penfield Elementary parents advisory council and was often concerned about teens loitering around the school field, which is poorly lit at night.

“There was always some issues with teenagers hanging around there at night,” she said.

Turner-Rondquist said that as the mother of two teenagers, the news of a teen’s death hits home.

“It's just devastating for any town but especially a small town where most of the kids all know each other,” she said. “Two families [are affected] in an instant. It’s just a terrible situation for everyone involved.”

Turner-Rondquist said Campbell River is a town “going through so much right now,” adding there have been recent problems with drugs and violence.

On April 17, a 21-year-old Surrey man, Masi Qayumi, was found dead in the Best Western Plus Austrian Chalet. The case is being treated as a homicide but no arrests have been announced.

Anyone with information about Saturday’s death is asked to contact the Campbell River RCMP at 250-286-6221 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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