'Our kids are killing our kids,' mother of slain teen says at vigil to urge end to violence
Jordan Thomas was in Grade 12 when he was killed in December 2017
The parents of an 18-year-old Winnipeg man who was killed last year are calling for an end to violence among young people in the city.
"Our kids are killing our kids, and that shouldn't be it. Our kids should be playing on a football field like my son did," Kathleen Bremner said Tuesday night at a vigil for her son, Jordan Thomas.
"The reasons why this happened to my son I may never know. It was just an awful, awful thing. And if I can help prevent that happening to another family, that would be my goal."
Thomas was a Grade 12 student when he and his brother Brandon, then 20, were found with multiple stab wounds near David Livingston School on Dec. 13. They were rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Brandon needed surgery on his back and still has complications from his injuries.
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The day after the stabbings, a 17-year-old boy and two 14-year-old girls were arrested and charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder.
At the time, Winnipeg police Const. Tammy Skrabek described the meeting between the two groups as "happenstance."
On Tuesday, two months after the attack, dozens of Thomas's friends and family members met for a vigil at the community centre beside the field where he was killed. Many wore orange and black ribbons in his honour — the colours of the St. John's High School football team that Thomas captained and played for as quarterback.
Supporters stood in a large circle during drumming, singing and opening remarks from Bremner, NDP MLA Bernadette Smith, Winnipeg police Const. Terrence Small and St. John's football coach Grant McMillan.
Earlier in the day, Thomas's family met at the field for a cleansing ceremony, Bremner said.
"Mainly, we needed some kind of closure as a family. I mean, what happened to my son, just in this field over here, is — it was horrific and it was violent," she said.
"Part of me, part of us, all of us, we feel like in some way Jordan is still here with us. His spirit is still here somehow."
From the community centre, the group walked to the North Winnipeg Nomads Football Club on McPhillips Street, escorted by a Winnipeg police cruiser and members of the Bear Clan Patrol.
At the foot of a pine tree in front of the club, the family placed a poster with Thomas's name and photos of him in sports uniforms. Supporters also left candles.
'He worked really hard'
Bremner and Lance Thomas — Thomas's dad — said their son was a leader in his community with big plans for his future.
"He was an amazing boy — young man, I should say. I mean, he had so much going for him," Bremner said.
She's been going through things she's had since Thomas was a little boy and recently came across something he made when he was around eight. It lists all his dreams for when he grew up.
"One of them was finishing school, joining the army, playing football, playing basketball — those were all things he was working towards," Bremner said.
"He played football and basketball for his team. He was their captain, he was their quarterback. He had talked to us, actually, just a week before his death of joining the army."
Lance Thomas said parents need to step up to help their children get more active in the community to prevent further violence.
"We need leaders that will do that, young leaders that will help the young youth get their goals, and Jordan was one. And I know there's lots, lots, lots of youth out there that can do great for everybody," he said.
"And once we all stick together and do great for each other, life will be better for everyone. The whole city, community, province even. We've got things going on all over Canada but we can do just our little bit."