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N.S. rampage victims' young sons hid during attack, family member says
TORONTO -- A son of one of the victims of the Nova Scotia rampage says his father and stepmother's younger children were in the house the night of the attack.
Tyler Blair told CTV News Channel that Greg and Jamie Blair's two younger sons, aged 10 and 12, hid during the attack until the killer left. Blair later told CTV's Atlantic Bureau Chief Todd Battis that the killer set fire to the house before leaving while the boys were still inside.
"They hid in the house until he was gone and then they took off to the neighbours house and hid inside with their two little kids next door until the cops came," Blair said in an interview on Wednesday.
That neighbour was elementary teacher Lisa McCully, who was also killed in the attack.
Blair said his dad has a shop across the road from where the killer lived. He said there is a trail leading to Greg and Jamie's house from the shop.
"[My brothers said] they heard Gabriel come out and start yelling. Dad stepped outside and that's when get got shot," Blair said, adding that his stepmom then grabbed the boys and ran into the bedroom.
"My little brothers hid behind the bed, and that's when he shot my stepmother Jamie."
Blair said his brothers are now living with him and in his care.
"They had seen a lot that night, But I'm amazed at how strong they're being," Blair said.
An extensive investigation is underway following the 13.5-hour rampage in Nova Scotia that left 22 people dead in what is now one of the deadliest massacres in Canadian history.
Blair said he tried to call his father and stepmother Saturday night after seeing reports of fires and possible shootings, but there was no answer. He said he convinced himself that they were asleep and went to sleep himself around 2 a.m. local time.
He said he woke up on Sunday afternoon to loud knocks on his front door. He said it was the RCMP who confirmed that his dad and Jamie were killed in the attack.
"As soon I woke up to the loud thumps I sort of just knew right then," Blair said.
Blair said his father and stepmother knew the killer but were not close.
"It's a private community down… So they did have run-ins and talks [with the killer]. They weren't friends by any means but they did know each other," Blair said.
Blair described his father as a "very hard worker." He said most of the family worked for his dad.
"Everybody that met my old man, just loved him," Blair said. "He was about to turn 46 this week and he acted like he was a 20 year old partying with me and my friends all the time, everybody just loved him."
Blair said his stepmother Jamie had been in his life for about 20 years.
"She was amazing and became a second mother to me," he said. "I just don't even have words on how great those two people were."
Blair said a small service is in the works for the couple but it will be restricted to close family because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Maybe once everything clears up, we might have a celebration that's bigger," he said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Blair and his younger stepbrothers by a family friend. It has already raised more than $47,000 as of Wednesday morning.
Blair says he is overwhelmed by the response the fundraiser has received.
"It has just blown us away by the amount of support and donations we have received from all over Canada -- it's hard to believe," Blair said. "My brothers are having a hard time accepting it because they were taught to work for everything they receive so they don’t understand it yet.
"I can't put it into words how much we appreciate it all… Hopefully we can return the favour someday to everybody."