Grief counsellors are at St. Patrick's High School Monday after Grade 12 student Brandon Volpi was killed in a prom night stabbing in downtown Ottawa.
Police are still searching for suspects.
Witnesses told CBC News that Volpi, 18, ran out of Les Suites Hotel on Besserer Street to help a friend involved in a fight around 3:30 a.m. He was stabbed in the chest and neck. Another man was also stabbed but survived his injuries.
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Classmates described Volpi as a gentle giant, who acted as a big brother to fellow students. At six-foot-five-inches, the wrestler and rugby player was easy to spot giving high-fives in school hallways, students said.
"He was friendly, kind-hearted. He was a big guy. Always looked out for other people. Always trying to protect other people," said Grade 11 student Lamzar Liverov.
Grade 9 student Tianna Lefebvre said she knew Volpi as "Shaggy," a nickname he was given for his resemblance to the character from Scooby-Doo. She said the mood at school is solemn after the death of an outgoing and popular student.
"He was a nice guy. He always had everybody's back," she said. "People are crying. It's quiet. ... The teachers are taking it really hard, too."
A mid-morning prayer was dedicated to Volpi at the school. Students were also invited to share their thoughts in a memory book.
The school board said it is seeking the family's input before planning a formal memorial.