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UPDATE: Kelowna youth arrested in relation to attack on Sikh teen at bus stop

The student was pepper sprayed on Sept. 11.
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(File/Pixabay.com)

UPDATE 10:25 a.m.

A youth has been arrested from the attack on the 17-year old Sikh student that happened on Monday, Sept. 11.

Kelowna RCMP media relations officer Mike Della-Paolera confirmed the arrest took place on Wednesday night, Sept. 13.

The suspect is in court today.

UPDATE 10 a.m.

The Kelowna RCMP have completed their preliminary investigation regarding the 17-year old Sikh student that was attacked on Monday, Sept. 11.

“Investigators will be conducting video analysis and reviewing additional evidence to determine what transpired on the bus prior to all parties being directed off the bus” Cpl. Michael Gauthier. “This evidence will be important for police and prosecutors to understand what led up to the assault with a weapon and the motivation for the crime. There is no doubt that the victim was bear sprayed and assaulted by the accused; this has been made quite clear.”

To protect the investigation and the judicial’s system process involving a youth, the RCMP will be providing no further details.

“While the effects of bear spray are extremely painful and may only be temporary, the effects of this young man’s decisions will last much much longer,” added Gauthier. “We condemn any acts of violence in our community and are thoroughly investigating this matter.”

Anyone with any additional information or evidence is to contact the Kelowna RCMP at with the file number 2023-54354 or to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

UPDATE 9/14 7 a.m.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) has released a statement, saying they are “deeply concerned” about the attack on the 17-year old student.

“Monday’s attack on a Sikh high school student in Kelowna is shocking and unacceptable,” said WSO BC Vice-President Guntaas Kaur. “What is incredibly disappointing is that the BC Transit bus driver did not intervene and in fact removed both the attackers and the victim from the bus, leaving the Sikh student to fend for himself. The Sikh high school student is recovering from his injuries and from the pepper spray but cannot understand why he was assaulted. He is afraid to return to school for fear of being attacked again. This is unfortunately the second attack on a Sikh student in Kelowna this year.

“We call on the RCMP to investigate this incident fully and bring the attackers to justice,” Kaur continued. “We also call on BC Transit to investigate why the driver in this incident did nothing to stop the attack and by removing the victim from the bus, allowed the attack to continue.”

According to WSO, because the student is new to Canada, he didn’t understand why he was attacked or the slurs that were yelled at him during the incident.

UPDATE: 6 p.m.

Kelowna City Councillor Mohini Singh went to visit the victim of the bus stop assault on Wednesday morning.

She said the 17-year-old is new to Canada and has only been living in Kelowna for maybe five months.

“He is OK physically, but he is absolutely terrified. He is scared to go back to school,” she said.

She explained he loves his school and his teachers but is afraid.

“He is still in a state of shock, how could this happen,” said Singh. The victim had been with his younger brother when the incident occurred.

The young man’s sister will now drive him to school every day.

Singh said she was told a passerby saw the assault and called 911. Several others reportedly also came to the teen’s aid.

This incident comes just six months after an international Sikh UBC Okanagan student was assaulted after exiting a city bus, at the McCurdy stop, to return home from a grocery trip.

Gagandeep Singh was kicked and beaten before having his turban ripped from his head, a friend told Capital News at the time.

_______

A Sikh student was assaulted at a Kelowna bus stop while on his way home from school on Sept. 11.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Kelowna RCMP were dispatched to a pepper or bear spray incident at the intersection of Rutland Road South and Robson Road East.

Cpl. Michael Gauthier with the Kelowna RCMP said that before the bear spray incident, there was an altercation on a city bus which resulted in those involved being asked to leave the bus.

After exiting the bus, a second incident occurred where a male teenage suspect deployed bear spray on the victim.

Bystanders called the police and several witness statements have been obtained. The suspect in this incident has been identified.

Investigators are still collecting CCTV evidence and other relevant information including taking steps to determine the motivation of this crime.

The Kelowna RCMP is prepared to provide an investigational update shortly.


@Rangers_mom
Jacqueline.Gelineau@kelownacapnews.com

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