Murder of Devan Bracci-Selvey

Devan Bracci-Selvey was a 14-year-old ninth-grade student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School who was stabbed to death outside the school by a fellow student in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on 7 October 2019.

Incident edit

The day started off well for Devan. It was around the end of lunch time when Devan spotted his missing bike across the street from the school. Devan's friend then called his father to ask if he could help retrive his friends bike from a group of older bullies. Devan's friends father arrived at Parkdale arena and confronted a group of teenagers to assist getting Devan's bike back. While trying to reason the 18 year older brother of the perpetrator responded by spraying the man with what is believed to have been bear mace. Devan's mother then arrived. Devan was chased.

He attempted to run and call his mother. He made it from the arena across from the front of the school. Where the bear mace attack happened. All the way to the back of the school where Devan's mother said for him to be in the parking lot.

As Devan was getting closer to his mother a group of kids came running from the back of the school. A 16-year-old girl taunted Bracci-Selvey demanding he hit her, to which he replied, "I can’t hit you, I wasn’t raised that way." Bracci-Selvey attempted to rush over to enter her vehicle, according to his mother, but was stabbed from behind by a single perpetrator, [1][2]

The victim edit

Devan Bracci-Selvey was 14 years old at the time of his death, and went to Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, where he was in the ninth-grade.

Devan's sister wrote on a GoFundMe fundraiser for his funeral that her brother was a "shy, quiet, [helpful] kid who had tried get help with the bullying he was experiencing." Devan was fond of cars, video games, and animals, had dreams of becoming a mechanic, and was excited to become an uncle for the second time. Devan, as per his mother, "protected everybody" and never hesitated to stick up for friends when they were being harassed. Citing the age of the victim and suspects as well as an ongoing investigation, police would not comment on nor confirm speculation and reports surrounding possible motives and the nature of the confirmed "existing relationship" between the victim and the accused. Relatives, including the boy's mother, who spoke to Global News and CP24, confirmed Devan was relentlessly bullied since beginning high school a month earlier, and their concerns were dismissed by school officials who deemed there was "insufficient evidence to take action." Devan had begun skipping classes, attending school part-time before calling home asking to be picked up, or refusing to go to school in the mornings as a result of the bullying.[3][4]

Arrests and sentencing edit

Two brothers, a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old, were arrested after the incident and later charged with first-degree murder following a preliminary investigation by Hamilton Police Service. A third individual was arrested but "was interviewed and later released unconditionally once [their] involvement in the investigation was established." On October 8, 2019, police had announced a 16-year-old male and a 16-year-old female, outstanding suspects, were also arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of first-degree murder. On October 9, 2019, both were released without charge after being questioned lengthily about the homicide. Detective-Sergeant Steve Bereziuk noted in a media release that "based on evidence there is some element of pre-planning […] and premeditation [involved with] this homicide."[5][6][7][8]

In August 2020, the 18-year-old suspect received a suspended sentence with 15 months on probation. The family of the victim was not satisfied with the sentence.[9]

Response edit

A crisis response intervention team, social workers, police liaison officers, wellness counsellors, and extra staff support for teachers and administrators were sent to the school following the incident. As public frustration and anger grew against the perceived inaction of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) leading up to the incident, Director of Education Manny Figueiredo advised CBC News that "an investigation into what happened [would] get underway once the police investigation wraps [up]." After the stabbing, Figueiredo felt the school was still "the safest place for a kid to be right now [as] a lot of [students] want to be together, they want to be with their friends and talk and make sense and deal with their grief" even as many parents kept their children home from school in the days after the stabbing. When pressed specifically on the bullying Bracci-Selvey endured and what the school did in response, Figueiredo said he was not aware of what led up to the violence and instead advocated for a community-oriented response: "The schools don't live in isolation of the community... they need to take a leadership role [when it comes to bullying] because we have these students for five hours a day. We have to continue to engage our kids...if a kid turns to us, how are we responding so they see that it's safe to respond?" Figueiredo encouraged students who do not feel safe, or have not felt safe in the past, to raise their concerns with adults.[10][11]

References edit

  1. ^ Drolet, Mike (October 8, 2019). "Boy murdered outside Hamilton school; 2 teens charged". Global News. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  2. ^ Wilson, Codi (October 9, 2019). "Mom who saw son stabbed to death outside Hamilton high school says she 'tried to save him'". CP24. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Drolet, Mike (October 8, 2019). "Boy murdered outside Hamilton school; 2 teens charged". Global News. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  4. ^ Wilson, Codi (October 9, 2019). "Mom who saw son stabbed to death outside Hamilton high school says she 'tried to save him'". CP24. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Wilson, Codi (October 8, 2019). "Police ID victim stabbed to death outside Hamilton high school; 4 teens in custody". CP24. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Westoll, Nick (October 8, 2019). "4 suspects to face 1st-degree murder charge after teen fatally stabbed outside Hamilton high school". Global News. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  7. ^ Polewski, Lisa (October 8, 2019). "'We need to talk': School board speaks to fatal stabbing at Hamilton school". Global News. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  8. ^ Taekema, Dan (October 9, 2019). "2 teens arrested in stabbing death of Hamilton student released". CBC News. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Tsekouras, Phil (August 14, 2020). "Teen arrested in connection with Devan Bracci-Selvey's murder pleads guilty to prohibited weapon charge". CTV News. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  10. ^ Taekema, Dan (October 7, 2019). "14-year-old student fatally stabbed outside Sir Winston Churchill high school". CBC News. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  11. ^ Rankin, Christine (October 9, 2019). "Students and staff grapple with grief at Hamilton high school after fatal stabbing". CBC News. Retrieved October 9, 2019.