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21-year-old suspect charged with murder in fatal Abbotsford knife attack

November 3, 2016
Gabriel Klein, the suspect charged in the fatal knife attack in Abbotsford.—IHIT/Twitter

Police are seeking information about Gabriel Klein, the suspect charged in the fatal knife attack in Abbotsford.—IHIT/Twitter

Charges have been laid against a suspect in the fatal November 1 knife attack against two female students at an Abbotsford, B.C. high school. The apparent “random act of violence” left one 13-year-old girl dead (identified by police as Letisha Reimer) and another 14-year-old girl in hospital with serious knife wounds.

Yesterday (November 2), charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault were laid against 21-year-old Gabriel Brandon Klein, an Alberta man of no fixed address, who was not previously known to police.

The screaming cover of this morning's Province newspaper.

The screaming cover of this morning’s Province newspaper.

Today’s Province tabloid cover story made Klein’s homelessness out to be a fact of the first importance, with a headline on the cover reading: “Homeless man charged” and inside: “Drifter charged after fatal stabbing”.

The very first three words of the story were “A homeless drifter”.

Klein, the Province story stresses, was a “homeless drifter from Alberta” and the attack itself was “random”. Otherwise, besides his age, the story gives few physical details about Klein and the only thing like a description of the attacker occurs in a quote attributed to police:

“The attack began when a shoeless man walked into the school early in the afternoon, according to police”.

Disturbing video and speculation on the Internet

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Cropped frame grab from video of Abbotsford attack that was uploaded to YouTube.

On Tuesday afternoon, CBC News received cell phone video of the incident and decided not to broadcast it. This may have been the same disturbing eye witness video that briefly surfaced on YouTube Tuesday afternoon. The blurry six-second clip appears to show an attack on a prone woman by a barefoot Caucasian man.

Aside from his lack of shoes, the man looks to be neatly groomed and is dressed in blue jeans and a white or light grey shirt. He appears to holding a dark jacket with his right hand and as he crouches down he uses his left hand to strike the woman.

At the approach of another person the man rises, tosses away something he is holding in his left hand and backs away, as if frightened, out of the frame. The woman is left motionless on the floor with what looks like a smear of blood beside her.

Global News reporter Rumina Daya Tweeted on November 2 at 12:07 p.m., following the attack, that Gabriel Klein was “apparently in a manic state” and questioned his possible drug use and mental state. At 3:08 p.m. She Tweeted that Klein had been admitted to Abbotsford Hospital, certified under the Mental Health Act and decertified the next day by a psychiatrist.

Klein is something of an unknown quantity to authorities, according to Sgt. Jennifer Pound, Media Relations Officer for the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

All she could say of Klein was that he apparently has no criminal record in B.C. and no connection to either the school or the students who were attacked. Since February or March, he has drifted around various locations in the Lower Mainland—most recently Vancouver, explained Pound, adding:

“It’s rare that we don’t have a lot of details about an individual.”

Today (November 3) IHIT’s Twitter account Tweeted an image of Gabriel Klein that was taken some hours before the attack at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

CBC News is reporting that a 21-year-old man of the same name is wanted in Calgary, Alberta, in connection with four traffic-related charges, including tampering with vehicles and boarding transit without a valid pass.

Police investigators are asking anyone who has had contact with Klein—whether personally, online or otherwise—to contact IHIT or local police. Click on the images to enlarge them.

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