A mother who witnessed her son being stabbed to death outside his high school broke her silence on Wednesday, blaming the system for failing to protect the 14-year-old from the “bullies” who she said made his first month of school a nightmare.
Shari-Ann Bracci-Selvey broke down in tears as she spoke to reporters for the first time since her son Devan died near Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Hamilton on Monday afternoon.
Listen to what the boy’s mother told media on Wednesday in the audio clips below.
Two teens aged 14 and 18 are currently facing first-degree murder charges in his death, which police have previously described as premeditated.
Bracci-Selvey spared no one when describing who was responsible for her son’s death, saying everyone from the school he attended to his own family let him down.
“Everyone failed my son,” she said. “Even I did. I tried to save him and I couldn’t.”
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board did not immediately respond to request for comment on her allegations.
Bracci-Selvey said her son had been viciously bullied since the second day of school. His “tormentors” stole his bike at that time and harassed him ever since, she said.
She said Devan missed a lot of classes – either refusing to go to school or calling her requesting to be picked up early.
She did not say if such a call was what brought her to the school Monday afternoon, but said she has yet to come to terms with “the horror” she witnessed.
“I haven’t slept, I haven’t eaten, every time I close my eyes it’s there,” she said. “So if I don’t close my eyes I can’t relive it.”
Bracci-Selvey said her son was not the only target of the bullying, often shielding his friends facing similar harassment.
An obituary for the teen describes a boy with a “passion for old cars, video games and a loving heart for animals.”
Hamilton police had previously arrested four people in connection with his death, but later released two 16-year-olds without charges.
Bereziuk declined to say why the charges that police expected to be laid against those teens were abandoned.
He confirmed, however, that the 14-year-old boy is believed to have been the one wielding the knife that killed Devan. The identity of the adult suspect is protected by a publication ban, while the name of the 14-year-old cannot be released under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Bereziuk said the investigation remains active, noting investigators have not yet spoken to Devan’s mother in an effort to allow her to cope with her pain.
“I’m not going to push her right now,” he said. “I can’t imagine what she’s going through, so I’m going to give her a lot of rope. And when she’s available to contact me and sit down and meet, then my door’s open.”