Police are appealing for witnesses and information in the wake of a weekend altercation in South Surrey that claimed the life of a 15-year-old boy.
Dario Bartoli died in Peace Arch Hospital hours after he was injured in an attack early Saturday in or near Bakerview Park.
“There is much rumour and speculation as to what occurred the evening Dario was killed, and for that reason we ask individuals who have information to come to police before turning to social media,” Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound, spokesperson for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said Monday in a statement.
Police responded to a call of a disturbance just before 3 a.m. Dec. 13, after two boys, 14 and 15 years old, fled to a home in the 15600-block of 18 Avenue, following an assault by four or five others.
Police and emergency health services arrived to find Bartoli with critical injuries. Taken to nearby Peace Arch Hospital, he died just after 10 a.m.
Soon after, Twitter and Facebook were inundated with comments and tributes to Bartoli, an avid skateboarding and BMX fan who attended Earl Marriott Secondary.
One described Bartoli as “one of my best friends.”
“Throughout the time we hung out together Dario and all his friends made me feel like I had a place where I was always welcome,” the writer states. “Dario we all love you man… You will always be remembered.”
One Twitter user expressed regret.
“Wishing we stayed with you for a couple extra hours last night and drove you home,” she writes.
On YikYak, anonymous commenters described Bartoli’s death as “disgusting” and said they hoped he “was in a better place.”
One said his death “is a big wake-up call to be safe when you go out and not to hang out with the wrong people.”
Tributes also sprung up at the South Surrey Skate Park, where the bowl has been transformed with graffitied memorials to the teen.
Pound said investigators have yet to confirm if weapons were used and the number of assailants involved. Early indications “support the theory that this was an alcohol-fuelled altercation between two groups that turned tragic,” she said.
An autopsy to confirm the cause of death is scheduled for this week.
The 14-year-old who was with Bartoli reportedly suffered minor injuries.
Anyone with information regarding the incident or who saw Bartoli in the hours prior to the attack is asked to call the IHIT tipline at 1-877-551-4448.
To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
– with files from Kevin Diakiw and Sarah Massah