Patrice Vincent, soldier killed in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was close to retirement
Warrant officer served in the military for 28 years
The family of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed Monday when he was struck in a targeted hit and run in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., is struggling to come to terms with his death.
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"It's actually hard for us.… When it happens to somebody else in Canada — you hear that on the news — personally it touches me, but when it's closer to your family, it's harder to accept that," said Vincent's cousin and former soldier Sylvain Guérette.
"My cousin was a nice guy … always ready to help, always smiling.—Sylvain Guérette, cousin of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent
"When you lose a member of your family, especially in the Armed Forces, it's harder because you would like to be there. You would like to do something, but you can't."
Guérette said Vincent had been thinking about retirement.
The 53-year-old had been serving in the military for 28 years, and was looking to the next phase of his life. Guérette, a cabinetmaker, said Vincent was pondering hanging up his uniform and working as a cabinetmaker as well — but he loved serving his country.
"He was the kind of guy who was devoted to everybody. He was the guy who never [made] any noise, but always ready to help everybody," Guérette said.
"My cousin was a nice guy … always ready to help, always smiling. I never saw him in a bad mood."
Twin sister, mother struggling
Guérette told CBC News in Montreal that Vincent's family is having a hard time coming to terms with his death, especially his mother and twin sister.
"He had a twin sister — they were the youngest in the family, so it's very hard for her," he said, adding that the family wonders if his death could have been prevented.
"If you see something strange, don't be scared to go to the police … speak to people," Guérette said.
The investigation continues into the hit-and-run attack that killed Vincent and injured another soldier.
This afternoon, the RCMP confirmed there's no connection between Monday's attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Wednesday's shootings in Ottawa.
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Vincent's family is planning a funeral for next week. Arrangements have not yet been finalized.