Brandon Volpi, dead after prom night stabbing

Brandon Volpi, 18, died from his injuries after a stabbing outside a downtown Ottawa hotel early in the morning of June 7, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Volpi's family)

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.

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.