Nova Scotia

Family says arrest related to homicide of Sipekne'katik man brings 'relief'

Bert Knockwood's family says there's some relief in seeing an arrest made in his death, but it's also "just the beginning" of a long process.

Woman charged as accessory after the fact in Bert Knockwood's death

Bert Knockwood with his father, Doug, in April 2016. (Bert Knockwood/Facebook)

Bert Knockwood's family says there's some relief in seeing an arrest made in his death, but it's also "just the beginning" of a long process.

Knockwood, 42, of  Sipekne'katik First Nation was found dead in a home in Millbrook, N.S., on July 12. Two days later, RCMP ruled his death a homicide.

Adria Gloade, who was previously reported missing, was arrested in Quebec last week. She has been charged with accessory after the fact to murder in relation to Knockwood's case.

The 37-year-old from Millbrook was scheduled to appear in court last Friday. 

"Everybody wants to know what happened," Bernard Knockwood, Bert's older brother, said on Sunday.

"There is some relief, but we all know that this is just the beginning of a long process, and that the other person … is going to be captured at some time, [we] would hope anyway."

Police still investigating

No one has been charged with murder in Knockwood's death. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Marshall said the investigation into Knockwood's homicide continues and police are still collecting evidence.

Bernard said he did not know Gloade personally, but believed she was a friend of Knockwood's girlfriend. 

Knockwood lost his mother and sister at a young age and his father, Doug Knockwood — a respected Mi'kmaw elder — struggled with the scars left from being forced to attend a residential school. His father died in 2018.

Over the years, Bernard said it was painful to see Knockwood's struggles. Their family knew he had entered a lifestyle with a certain amount of violence, but they always told him their love "never wavered."

They never thought he would be killed, Bernard said.

"The victim here is Bert and ... there's no moral explanation for people killing another person," Bernard said. 

Bernard, 71, still thinks about the last hug he had with Bert, who he would jokingly call "baby brother."

It was just a few days before Bert was killed, and Bernard said he looked the best he had in years. He'd put on some weight, his eyes were clear, and Bernard told his brother he looked beautiful. 

"I was hugging him just before he left, and I told him, I said, 'I love you, brother.' And he said, 'I love you, too,' and he held me in return like he never held me before," Bernard said quietly.

"All the times that we'd met over the years never held me like that. And in hindsight, he was unconsciously telling me goodbye. That has stuck with me ever since."

Community comes together

Knockwood's obituary described him as a talented bassist, DJ and producer whose infectious laugh "could fill a room." It said he had a deep connection to his Mi'kmaw culture and that many looked up to him as a leader.

After his death, Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack issued a statement offering condolences to Bert's family.

"Our community is strong and we will support each other during this time as we continue to grapple with the effects of intergenerational trauma," Sack said in the statement.

With files from Melissa Friedman