The mother of Rustom Vito Paclipan, the 23-year-old man who was shot and killed outside a Winnipeg nightclub over the weekend, says the death of her only child is starting to sink in.
On Tuesday, Winnipeg police held a press conference where they announced an internal investigation is being conducted to get to the bottom of why the first of two 911 calls made to the scene of the shooting Sunday morning was cancelled.
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"I miss him so much. I didn't get a chance to talk to him before what happened," Elvira Paclipan Padillo told CBC News in an interview late Monday.
Paclipan Padillo said she got the call early Sunday morning about her son, who was shot in the chest outside Opera Ultralounge at around 2 a.m.
"I was sleeping when my phone was ringing and his girlfriend was calling me and says, 'Rustom got shot and he's gone,'" Paclipan Padillo said.
"I was frozen, I couldn't say anything. I was shocked. My heart was numb."
Police arrived at the scene of the shooting — only after a second 911 call was made. They helped paramedics who were already there and then Paclipan was rushed to hospital, where he died of his injuries.
Two other men, age 18 and 24, were also shot. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Paclipan was born in the Philippines and moved with his mother to Winnipeg 10 years ago.
She has since moved to Vancouver but Paclipan, who graduated from Sisler High School in 2010, remained in Winnipeg where he was taking an aircraft maintenance engineering program at Red River College.
He was set to graduate in two weeks. Paclipan Padillo said she will accept her son's diploma at his graduation ceremony.
She said he planned to move to Toronto upon graduation to pursue a job as an aircraft mechanic.
Vigil prayers for Paclipan are scheduled for Thursday and Friday night, following by a church service on Saturday.
Paclipan's ashes will be spread in the Philippines, his mother said.
'Save me, bro' were last words
Paclipan Padillo said Rustom had left the bar, located on Main Street and Bannatyne Avenue in Winnipeg's Exchange District, to help friends when the incident happened.
According to police, a group of men were involved in a confrontation on the street when one pulled out a gun and shot at the crowd.
," said Paclipan Padillo.
Leo Sadiua, a family friend and Paclipan's former basketball coach, said he was told that Paclipan pushed another person aside and took the bullet.
"He just went to the ground and my nephew said the last words he said to him: 'Save me, bro. Save me. And please tell your sister I love her.' And that's it," he said.
Paclipan's family and friends described him as a good kid who had a generous heart and loved basketball.
"He always made me laugh. He always [told] me be strong, you know," said Paclipan Padillo. "He doesn't want me to cry."
"He always put everyone else's happiness before his," his former girlfriend, Angelica Sadiua, said.
"He always pushed his own problems aside to put a smile on everyone else's face."
Kashia Leanna Rodriguez, who attended Stanley Knowles School and Sisler High School with Paclipan, described him as a "wonderful son, friend and brother to all of us."
“He knew how to always make us laugh effortlessly and cared deeply about his loved ones before himself," she said.
"He would do anything for them. He was independent and hardworking and even if he was struggling he never showed that.”
'He had such a big heart,' says friend
Rodriguez said Paclipan never got into trouble "but I guess trouble found him.”
“He had such a big heart and he was the biggest sweetheart out of all our friends that it will honestly never be the same without him," she said.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance video from businesses near the shooting scene as they search for suspects.
Earlier on Monday, a police spokesperson confirmed that the shooting was linked to street gangs, but said Paclipan was not known to police.
Paclipan Padillo said her son was not in a gang, and she hopes his killer will come forward.
"I forgive the one who did it, but I hope justice will prevail," she said.
No one has been arrested in connection with the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the police homicide unit at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).