Source: CTV News

A 13-year-old Vancouver boy is dead and a 14-year-old is in custody after a Saturday night brawl turned deadly.

Police said Sunday the fight occurred over a girl, and that victim Chris Poeung wasn’t even directly involved.

“It was a school yard type fight outside of the school and weapons came out and tragically we have a 13-year old boy dead and a 14-year old in custody that’s facing charges of manslaughter,” said Const. Tim Fanning of the Vancouver Police Service.

“It was a very tragic day yesterday, and hearts go out to all involved in this case, both the victim’s family and suspect’s family … it’s a horrible event to see happen.”

About 10 people were involved in the fight and another 30 were present. Virtually all were between the ages of 13 and 15, making them too young to hold a driver’s licence.

A knife got pulled, and four teens ended up being stabbed. Three remain in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Cathy Le, Chris’s girlfriend, told CTV Vancouver that she was there with him, and that everything happened really quickly.

I turned around to see him there was a blood on the heart side, he looked at us, gave us a grin and he fell,” she said.

“I just started crying and called 911.”

Police arrived quickly. They sealed off the parking lot and began interviewing witnesses. A few blocks away, they arrested two suspects who were riding a bus.

Poeung, in Grade 7, attended a different school than the suspect.

Cathy said Chris was a very nice guy who was easy to talk to. “It’s so hard to believe. I feel like it’s still a dream, a dream, I’ll wake up tomorrow and he’ll be there,” she said.

Source: Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER – Blinds drawn and windows shut against the sunshine, the family of a 13-year-old student fatally stabbed over the weekend sat on their living room floor Tuesday morning, wordless in their private grief.

The death of Chrisna Poeung, a popular and athletic Grade 7 student, manifested itself in sharp contrast among his peers.

Groups of students from around east Vancouver gathered at a parking lot at Main and Terminal — between Science World and McDonald’s — to set up a makeshift memorial where the teen was fatally injured.

Flowers lay piled over concrete tiles, penned with notes commemorating Poeung. Friends wrapped police tape around their arms and ankles, a badge of their allegiance to him.

“I was standing next to Chris when it happened,” said Huy Ho, 14, a Grade 8 student at Churchill secondary. “I was just walking and suddenly they were throwing punches.”

Ho said it wasn’t a premeditated fight between gangs.

Just after 5 p.m., the group was walking to McDonald’s from the SkyTrain station when they encountered two young men.

A fight broke out about a girl, Ho said, and Poeung stepped in to help a friend out.

It happened quickly, he said.

“I saw Chris fall over. I didn’t see the knife,” said Ho. “I ran over to push the guy off Chris. [The suspect] started running away. I walked with my arm around Chris for a bit and then he fell over.”

Ho said Poeung’s white shirt was soaked in blood, but at first he thought his friend was okay.

“He smiled,” said Ho, adding Poeung was laughing. “Then he fell over.”

He said at that point there was a lot of screaming from one of the girls in the group.

“I couldn’t stand the blood. It was rushing out like water,” Ho said. “I went to help my other friend that was stabbed.”

Poeung died a few hours later in hospital. Three other boys were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Ho shook his head and quietly added: “I should have taken one of the stabs.”

With that, he pulled out his iPod to listen to a tribute song — Rest in Peace Chris Poeung — performed by Emcee Majic, and posted online at Vancouver Xchange.

Police arrested a 14-year-old, who appeared in court Tuesday, charged with second-degree murder.

Phillipe Bui, 16, a Grade 10 student from Guildford Park, said the fight wasn’t planned.

“It just happened out of nowhere,” said Bui. He said it’s uncommon for his friends to carry weapons or fight.

Another friend, Mike Dinh, 15, said Poeung wasn’t a fighter.

“He was scared to skip school — that’s how good of a kid he was.”

David Wu, 13, a Grade 7 student from Grenfell elementary, said Poeung’s death had left him at a loss for words.

“I’m really sad. I’m speechless. I didn’t expect this to happen to him,” said Wu. “Right now, it’s so hard to go to school.”

And Vicky Palomino, 14, said she considered Poeung someone who touched a lot of people. “He always wanted to help people,” said Palomino, shaking her head.

Outside Poeung’s parent’s east Vancouver home, his brother Chanty, 26, spoke briefly. He said he lived in Calgary and hadn’t seen his younger brother in years. He was planning to visit in June and get reacquainted, but missed his chance.

“It’s just so sad,” he said.

His sister Kuntan, 23, stepped outside to add: “We’re just trying to cope.”

Poeung was closest to his sister Savannara, she said.

“I’m just really upset right now,” she said, tears in her eyes, standing in the doorway of her home. “I can’t say any more than that.”

At nearby Mount Pleasant elementary, students and staff mourned Poeung — an outgoing and well-liked student — and the flag flew at half-mast. Three young girls walked out of the principal’s office carrying stuffed animals, visibly upset.

“He was a nice little boy, very popular,” said school principal Steve Agabob, sitting in his office. “A natural leader.”

Students who knew Poeung were getting help with their grief, he said.

“Some are very sad, very tearful and very emotional. Some are reacting as kids react and they don’t know where to put it,” Agabob said. “It’s the full gamut. It really is.”

Jackie Farquhar, a critical incident coordinator for the Vancouver school district, was at the school early Tuesday along with five counsellors. They spoke with teachers, students and offered one-on-one counselling if needed, she said.

“It is important that we are available to [students],” said Farquhar. “We listen to what students have to say, we’re acknowledging their feelings.”

In addition to working with the students at Mount Pleasant, Farquhar said she sent out an e-mail to other school counsellors around Vancouver as a reminder that some of their students may have witnessed the attack and need assistance.

“It just rips you apart to see this,” Agabob said. “This is a very safe school. There are not a lot of fights.”

He said the incident was unusual. “There are skirmishes but they’re just one on one, they’re fighting over a swing seat or who gets to the water fountain first and that sort of thing.”

Poeung’s family has close ties to the school, he said. His younger brother is a student in Grade 1. “It’s a beautiful family,” Agabob said. “It’s just devastating.”

The school will hold a memorial for the family when they are ready, he said.