Kamloops reeling after 'baseball bat' attack leaves Jessie Simpson on life support
'It's a horrible misunderstanding,' said Savona B.C. family friend Christina Forde
Jessie Simpson's friends and family are saying goodbye on social media with the 18-year-old on life support after a severe beating Sunday from a stranger who some witnesses allege may have suspected Simpson was a thief.
Neighbours reported to police that the teen was chased and beaten after he was spotted around 4:50 a.m. PT in a driveway in a neighbourhood that's had several recent break-ins.
Family friend Christina Forde said Simpson was making his way home after a party in an unfamiliar neighbourhood when "he crossed the wrong driveway."
Forde speculated why the beating happened.
"That man saw him as a threat and chased him down the street with a baseball bat," said Forde, who lives near Simpson's family in Savona, outside Kamloops B.C.
Investigators are appealing for witnesses to the alleged beating that occurred at about 5 a.m. PT, on June 19.
"A homeowner looked out his window and saw a male in his driveway," said RMCP Cpl. Jodie Shelkie.
Witnesses told police the homeowner attacked the person in the driveway with a weapon and ended up on nearby Holt Street.
"It''s a horrible misunderstanding," said Forde whose daughters grew up with Simpson. She said people are horrified to learn that this young man remains in a coma.
"Jessie was a special boy. He was friendly and courteous. He's Jessie. He's always been happy and joking. Nobody is taking the news very well. The whole community is kind of grey," said Forde, who started a fundraising campaign for the family.
Simpson was taken to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops with life-threatening injuries, according to Kamloops RCMP.
"Jessie is in hospital in a coma clinging to life. It breaks my heart! To know Jessie and his humor, giant smile and the biggest blue eyes you would know that he did not deserve a baseball bat beating from an unknown man," wrote Forde on a GoFundMe page.
Police have not confirmed what kind of weapon was used in the beating, and continue to search for witnesses.
"The Doctor's have told us today that Jessie is brain dead, we are trying to get Jessie's brother, Blake here from the Royal Military College in Nova Scotia so that the family can be together when we take Jessie off of life support. Thank you for all that you have done for Jessie," a person claiming to be the teen's relative Ron Shewchuk wrote on a GoFundMe page for the family.
Friends linked to Simpson's Facebook page wrote emotional messages to his family in the past few days.
"Shine on Jessie Simpson. You will never be forgotten. You have left a lasting imprint on everyone's life. Life isn't fair, and your 18 years were cut too short by a senseless act. Kamloops will never be the same without you," Katerina Brianna Bishop-Charvet wrote June 20.
Kristopher Teichrieb, 39, has been charged with attempted murder in the case. He's set to appear in Kamloops B.C. court on June 23.