Family and those who knew Winnipeg's latest homicide victim describe Jordan Thomas as an outgoing, confident and athletic young man who could have become a leader in the community.

Thomas, 18, and another man were both found suffering from multiple stab wounds near David Livingston School early Wednesday morning. Both victims were rushed to hospital in critical condition, where Thomas was pronounced dead.

"He was a really optimistic boy and he had a really bright future ahead of him," Thomas's cousin Culley Kipling, 21, told CBC News late Thursday.

"He was really confident, which made him a really good person.… He was always happy and a go-getter when he was with me and his older brother — that's who we always hung out with."

Kipling said Thomas, who was in Grade 12 at St. John's High School, was playing three sports at once — he played on the school's rugby team, the basketball team, and was a star quarterback for the school's football team.

"He was really involved with his sports, his teammates, and the people around him," said Kipling. "He was considered one of the best quarterbacks at St. John's — he did a lot of great things."

A spokesperson for Winnipeg School Division said grief counsellors have been sent to the school to help students and other members of the school community.

'Everyone is taking it pretty hard'

Kipling says the other injured man taken to hospital was Thomas's older brother Brandon.

He says Brandon, 20, was stabbed 15 times while trying to protect his brother in the attack.

Brandon has since undergone surgery and is recovering in hospital, says Kipling.

Kipling says the family is having a difficult time after the attack, which he says was random.

"Everyone is taking it pretty hard," he said.

James Favel, executive director of the volunteer safety group Bear Clan Patrol, says he knew Thomas through his patrols in the community, and called Thomas a potential leader in the community.

"He was an up-and-comer, he was on the right track, moving forward and about to graduate — it's very sad," he said. "We're out there trying to make a safer environment for the young ones to grow up in, and sadly we've missed our mark today."

A 17-year-old boy and two 14-year-old girls have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder in connection to the attack, police said Thursday.

Favel said he also knows some of the accused through his work, and called the incident a tragedy.

"We've got three young, under-18-year-old kids who are now going to go to prison and experience that, and we've got one that's going to his grave," said Favel. "Nobody wins here.… The community loses four of its youth today."