Family members of the Edmonton teenager who died after being assaulted outside of his high school are calling for changes to how youth are legally tried in Canada to help bring justice to victims.

Karanveer Sahota was attacked outside of McNally High School on April 8 and died of his injuries a week later.

Initially, seven youths were charged with attempted murder, but on Friday, the Edmonton Police Service announced second-degree murder charges against a 17-year-old female, two 16-year-old males, two 15-year-old males and two 14-year-old males.

The 17-year-old female was also charged with obstruction.

Shivleen Sidhu and Monica Binns, two of his cousins, said the Sahota family was relieved and satisfied that seven youths were charged with second-degree murder.

“These seven individuals murdered our little cousin,” Sidhu said.

“This is the first step, that these charges (were) laid,” she added. “We know we have a long way ahead.”

Binns says the family would like to see the charged youths tried as adults and that the public deserves to know the identities of those involved in the attack.

“Just because they were 16 doesn’t excuse their behaviour,” Binns said. “They were adults in that moment making conscious decisions.”

“These murderers need to be punished as adults,” Sidhu said. “If they are not, this will be a serious injustice to Karan. It will be a serious injustice to Karan if their identities continue to be protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

“It is not enough to simply follow archaic precedent and legislation if this precedent and legislation does not do our victims justice,” she added. “If Karanveer’s case needs to set new laws to adequately serve him justice, then so be it.

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“These murderers need to be held accountable for their actions and that is in the public’s best interests.”

When asked how Sahota’s parents are coping, Sidhu said they remain immensely distraught and struggle to comprehend what happened.

“They are not holding up,” Sidhu said. “They are in utter shock to their body and emotional states. They are not doing well. We are trying to help them as a family, to be strong and to support them.”

Last weekend, Binns organized to GoFundMe to help support Sahota’s parents and sister as they grieve and heal. Initially, the goal was to raise $100,000. As of publication, it has raised more than $233,000.

“Every single cent of it will go toward that family and their living expenses,” Binns said. “The outpouring of support is beyond our wildest imagination. It gives us the strength and power to continue this fight.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jessica Robb

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