A day after the car crash that claimed his life, 16-year-old Julio Nibigirwe's family was struggling to cope with their loss.


Ken Nibigirwe said his younger brother Julio Nibigirwe was "a very good kid." (CBC)

Ken Nibigirwe, the victim's older brother, told CBC News he saw police at his house in Hunt Club when he got home at 10 a.m. Saturday, almost eight hours after the crash on River Road.

"I saw the cops outside, they told me what happened, and I just couldn't take it," Ken Nibigirwe said. "I never felt this much pain in my life. There's no human language to describe an emotion like that. I can't even describe how I feel right now."

Julio was born in Burundi, where his father still lives, and moved to Canada with his family when he was young.

'He was my baby,' mother says


People dropped off bunches of flowers at a small memorial off River Road where Julio Nibigirwe was killed in a car crash early Saturday morning. (CBC)

His mother, Alice Musasangohe, said from their Ottawa home Sunday that she couldn't believe the news.

"Just shock, I couldn't believe," she said. "He was a lovely guy, a nice one, mature for his age … He was my baby.

"Today I think I started to realize that he's gone."

Their friends and family in Africa have been notified. Ken Nibigirwe said his father had difficulty accepting it.

"He didn't take it very well, because he just lost his grandfather as well," Ken Nibigirwe said. "And now his youngest son. He was asking himself, 'Why God, why me?'"

Family surprised by outpouring of support

"He was a very good kid. A very good kid. He did good in school, he had good friends, good family, he was healthy. At least he didn't die in pain. He had a good lifestyle. He was young, you know, but I guess everything happens for a reason."

Ken Nibigirwe said he's surprised by how many people are expressing grief online and visiting the family.

"I think Ottawa lost someone special," he said.

Julio was due to start a co-op placement with Rogers Television on Monday, his mother said.

Staff at his school, École secondaire catholique Franco-Cité on Smyth Road, said by phone Sunday that counsellors will be available for the staff and students who need help on Monday.

At the crash site on River Road and Lowen Drive, people continued to drop off bunches of flowers at a small roadside memorial.