SURREY, B.C. - Homicide investigators in Surrey, B.C., want people with information about the weekend killing of a teenager to turn to police, not social media.
Fifteen-year-old Dario Bartoli died in hospital in the Metro Vancouver city on Saturday following an early morning altercation with a group of people.
Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said early indications support the theory that the killing was an alcohol-fuelled altercation between two groups that turned tragic.
She added it was too soon to call the incident a "swarming."
Pound said Bartoli and a 14-year-old friend were in Bakerview Park with a group that was drinking alcohol throughout the day until the altercation occurred.
The scene was dynamic, events unfolded quickly and police must still determine if and what weapons were involved, as well as the group's size, said Pound.
Police were called around 2:45 a.m. Saturday after a report that two teenage boys ran to a home after being attacked by four or five people.
Bartoli was rushed to Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, where he died of his injuries around 10:20 a.m.
Originally police said the 14-year-old suffered minor injuries but Pound said in a phone interview Monday that the boy was unharmed.
Pound said while they have spoken to some witnesses, they are trying to contact "many more."
"We know that the certain demographic we are reaching, the youth, they communicate very much on social media. So we're looking to reach those individuals who are currently communicating through social media and through other means and asking them to come forward and speak with IHIT investigators," she said.
She added that police need time to gather fact-based evidence, not rumour and speculation.
"With incidents such as this where a youth has had his life taken away from him, there's a lot of expectation that information should be coming regularly. The problem with that is that there's not a lot of details we can release in the initial stages," she said.
"So while days pass and while that might seem like a lot of time for some, they have to understand that we really are in the very early stages of our investigation. We're identifying individuals that we need to speak with and we're trying to do that by reaching the public in these very broad forums."
An autopsy will take place later this week to help investigators determine the cause of death.
Bartoli was a student at Earl Marriott Secondary School, which brought in grief counsellors on Monday to help students cope with the loss.
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