Canadians mourn 4 dead in Las Vegas massacre
Published Wednesday, October 4, 2017 9:54AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 4, 2017 10:28AM EDT
The emotional toll of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history is setting in across Canada, as friends and family cope with the loss of loved ones who left their communities in search of vacation fun, only to become victims of staggering violence.
In Valleyview, Alta., hundreds of people lit candles and comforted each other in a church parking lot on Tuesday night to remember Jessica Klymchuk.
The 34-year-old mother of four was visiting Las Vegas with her fiancé when she was gunned down in Sunday’s attack at a music festival near the city’s iconic strip. Elementary school students were on hand at the vigil to pay tribute to the popular educational assistant, librarian and bus driver.
Christine Ikonikov, a friend of Klymchuk who helped organized the event, said her loss has had a devastating effect on the tight-knit community.
“It’s impacted the children that she works with. It’s impacted her family. It’s impacted everyone significantly,” she told CTV Edmonton. “We just want to all come together and support each other, and give the family and close friends strength at this time.”
Video posted to Facebook shows a sea of candles lighting up the night sky as attendees hold back tears during a musical tribute.
“You are going to see a very large crowd of people here this evening, because that is how much she was loved. She touched many people,” said Kristen Paquette, another friend of Klymchuck who help organize the gathering.
A few hours away in Jasper, Alta., Lyndsay Perham is still in shock over the fact that her friend of more than two decades is gone. Calla Medig, 28, took time off from her job at a west Edmonton Moxie’s restaurant to enjoy Las Vegas with her roommate.
“She had a heart of gold,” Perham told CTV Edmonton. “She would do anything for her friends.”
It’s not the first time tragedy has struck the Medig family. Calla’s brother was killed in a car collision many years ago.
The Jasper Royal Canadian Legion Branch 31 said in a Facebook post that, “a young beautiful lady was taken from us.” The flag at the local legion branch was lowered in her memory.
In Maple Ridge, B.C., family and friends of Jordan McIldoon are remembering a compassionate, adventurous, and loving young man who would have turned 24 on Friday.
He was a few months shy of finishing a heavy duty mechanic apprenticeship, loved extreme sports and the outdoors, and was “rarely seen out of his cowboy boots,” according to a statement released by the family on Tuesday.
“From the people who stayed with Jordan that night and held his hand, to the first responders who had to rush in to an unimaginable scene, we would like to thank everyone for their incredible love and support,” the family wrote.
Tara Roe, 34, of Okotoks, Alta., was also among the 59 people killed. The mother of two worked with autistic children in Calgary and also modelled part time. Roe grew up in Brandon, Manitoba and friends and former coworkers say they are saddened by her death.
“Brandon is missing a beautiful star and she was going to do good things in the world so somebody will have to pick that up for her and carry it,” family friend Loretta Hamilton told CTV Manitoba.
Roe worked as an educational assistant in Okotoks, according to Foothills School Division Superintendent John Bailey. He said counsellors will be put in place to help staff and students cope with the loss.
“We continue to stand together and support one another,” he told CTV Calgary. “We have put our crisis response team in place, and they will remain as long as is needed to assist students and staff."
A GoFundMe campaign has raised over $100,000 to support the family.