The 21-year-old man charged in relation to Tuesday’s double stabbing has been described as a man with no fixed address and no connections to the school or to the victims, but Gabriel Brandon Klein was in Abbotsford, staying at the Riverside Shelter in the days leading up to the attack, according to a source associated with the shelter.
The source told The News that Klein had been staying at the shelter for a brief period before Tuesday’s attack.
Klein was known in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for stealing items to afford crystal meth, CTV News has reported.
Other media reports indicate Klein had an argument with his mother on the phone, on the day of the attack. The argument may have been about money to return to Alberta.
Gabriel Brandon Klein is originally from Alberta and had been frequenting the Vancouver area since February or March of this year, said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Few other details are available about Klein, and investigators are seeking more information.
Klein has been charged with the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer, 13, and the aggravated assault of a 14-year-old girl, whose name appears to be under a publication ban. The two were friends.
Police have not released the names of the victims, but they have been widely identified on social media, on online fundraising accounts, and at a makeshift memorial outside of the Abbotsford Arts Centre, which adjoins the high school.
Pound confirmed that the attack appears to be random.
She said she was not aware of any mental-health issues Klein has – “further assessment” will be done – or what led to the stabbing.
Klein was arrested immediately following the attack and was taken to hospital before being released earlier today (Wednesday). He remains in police custody.
Pound said investigators are asking for the public’s help in obtaining more information about Klein.
Pound commended school staff who intervened in the assault and were able to restrain the assailant until police arrived.
“The selfless actions by the Abbotsford Senior Secondary staff should be acknowledged and commended, as well as the efficient work by the Abbotsford Police Department for their quick response and containment of the scene,” she said.
Pound also addressed a six-second cellphone video of the attack that has been posted and shared on social media. She confirmed that the video shows the deceased victim, and asked that people stop sharing it online.
“When those videos are taken, when photos are taken, and they are posted to social media, without the police having the discretion to view and to make an assessment on whether or not it’s damaging, that puts our investigations at risk,” she said.
“And, most importantly, when photos and videos are taken of somebody being hurt … everybody has a responsibility to honour the pain and the tragedy that the families and the friends and the community as a whole are going through.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the IHIT tip line at 1-877-551-4448 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.