Nova Scotia

Fundraiser planned in memory of N.S. gay activist

Friends of Raymond Taavel are hosting a fundraiser Sunday night to help the family of the gay activist who was murdered early Tuesday morning.

Raymond Taavel was killed Tuesday in a murder that has shocked Halifax

Jeff Macpherson walks by tributes for Raymond Taavel. (CBC)

Friends of Raymond Taavel are hosting a fundraiser Sunday night to help the family of the gay activist who was murdered in Halifax early Tuesday morning.

Taavel was killed just outside of Menz bar, where the fundraiser will be held.

"It's going to be about his love of people," said organizer Jeff Macpherson. "That's what Sunday is all about. There will be only people there to kill homophobia with love. That's what it's all about."

Police allege Taavel was killed by a patient with paranoid schizophrenia who had left the East Coast Forensic Hospital on a one hour pass.

Taavel's death has rocked Halifax's gay community. Taavel was a former chairman of Gay Pride week events and a well-known editor for Wayves magazine.

Raymond Taavel died after being beaten on Gottingen Street. (Facebook)

"He was always a great supporter of all the talent and characters in our community so this is our way to give back to him," Macpherson said.

Macpherson said more than 30 acts have volunteered to perform in Sunday's variety show.

"My phone hasn't stopped since the announcement of the show, and the outcry of people that want to come and perform and donate their time, energy and efforts and businesses that are supporting the auction that we're having as well that evening, it's overwhelming."

The show is set to start at nine p.m.

The money will be given to Taavel's family to help cover funeral expenses.

Activist says death was preventable

Meanwhile an activist for victims of violence is speaking out, saying Raymond Taavel's death could have been prevented.

Raymond Sheppard's brother Eddie was killed 16 years ago when he was stabbed to death by his roommate in a group home.

The killer suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He was found not criminally responsible and was sent to the forensic unit of the Nova Scotia Hospital.

"It's amazing, because all of this starts coming back. It's like wow. I thought they fixed that," Raymond Sheppard said.

Andre Denny, the man accused of killing Taavel, was also found not criminally responsible for a previous assault. His family said they're baffled that he was allowed a one hour pass from the forensic hospital.

"There are parallels because this individual was supposed to be inside, not outside. It's nice to come back to the community, but was he ready?  His family says otherwise," said Sheppard.

Sheppard's family pushed for a public inquiry when his brother was killed.

He said an investigation could have lead to safeguards to prevent similar tragedies.

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