Two teenage boys have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 16 stabbing death of Paul Prestbakmo in a South Surrey parking lot.
Integrated Homicide Investigation Team officials announced the charges – against a 15- and 16-year-old – at a press conference this afternoon (Thursday) at the Surrey RCMP detachment.
Both teens have been in custody since Aug. 22, for breaching court-imposed conditions on a separate matter, IHIT spokesman Sgt. Frank Jang told media.
At the press conference, Jang said the murder – which police describe as an unprovoked attack – was not related to gang violence. He described the age of the two charged as “troubling.”
“It’s shocking. Fortunately, we don’t hear about young people charged with these kinds of offences every day. But certainly when you hear about that, especially in our community, it’s very shocking,” Jang said.
Jang said police believe Prestbakmo and the two youths knew each other “to some degree,” as Prestbakmo was a well-known member of the South Surrey and Semiahmoo First Nation community. He said police do not believe that it was a stranger-on-stranger attack.
“Paul Prestbakmo, 45 years old, worked as a mechanic…” Jang said. “My understanding is that he was, in those early hours, taking out the garbage and went for a smoke. Then, he was subsequently murdered. It’s a tragic case.”
Due to their age, Jang said there is little information police can share about the two accused.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Elenore Sturko said RCMP has increased its presence in the South Surrey area to “help restore the community’s feelings of safety.”
She, along with Jang, credited the development in the case to witnesses who came forward following an appeal by police and Prestbakmo’s family.
“Coming and bringing information to investigators can not only help solve a crime today, but can prevent one tomorrow,” Sturko said.
Prestbakmo, 45, died in a parking lot at the southwest corner of 18 Avenue and 152 Street. Police flooded the area after receiving reports of a man found bleeding just before 3:30 a.m. Officers found Prestbakmo “unresponsive with serious injuries.”
In a statement released Thursday, Jang said the charges would not have been possible without the “tireless efforts” of IHIT investigators “to secure and compile evidence for charge approval.”
“A violent incident like this has significant impacts on both the victim’s family and the surrounding community, as their sense of safety is upended,” Sturko added in a news release.
“It is our sincere hope that the quick conclusion to this investigation will bring a measure of comfort to both Mr. Prestbakmo’s family and to the South Surrey community.”