Nova Scotia

Taavel family overwhelmed by support

The family of Raymond Taavel is speaking for the first time since his shocking death last Tuesday.

Family writes open letter to the public following murder of Raymond Taavel

Ryan Raymond Taavel was described as a bright light.

The family of Raymond Taavel released an open letter to the public, speaking for the first time since his shocking death last Tuesday.

Taavel, a prominent gay activist, was leaving Menz Bar in Halifax when he was killed. Police said he was attempting to break up a fight between two men when he was attacked.

Andre Denny was charged with second-degree murder. Denny was a patient at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth who was overdue from his one-hour leave at the time.

The following is an unedited copy of the letter.



We are overwhelmed by the people of Halifax and Nova Scotia and your explosion of compassion and love for our son and brother. We are so grateful for what you have done and are doing in Raymond’s memory. We do not mourn alone when you mourn with us. You will never know what this meant for us.

The vigil on Gottingen Street spoke of Raymond’s work for people, not the slaying. It was a beautiful example of respect for Raymond both in life and in death.

Raymond loved Halifax and all those who lived there, his only sadness was that his family was so far away.

You embraced him and his gentle nature, and gave him so many opportunities to do what he lived for, helping those who needed a helping hand. You saw the real Raymond for who he was and respected him for what he believed in.

Raymond died helping someone and had he lived, would have forgiven his assailant. He truly practiced the teachings of Jesus through his simple life style and generosity.

We are not mourning alone when we see the pain of his friends in Nova Scotia. You accepted him as he was without judgment. Your support and encouragement created the environment for Raymond to achieve all the hopes he had for all people.

Despite the psychiatric release system failing Raymond, you accented his life’s work and not the tragedy. Even the accused has received compassion, and Raymond would have liked that. It is easy to be angry, but your kind words wipe away the anger. "Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do". Raymond would have hugged the accused and his family.

Your community should be proud that you are an example to Canada of tolerance and acceptance. A lady called to offer her home to us if we were to come to Halifax. Your positive message is a credit to Raymond and justice to his work.

Your tribute in the Nova Scotia Legislature was so welcome to us as we mourn. Your police and Medical Examiner were compassionate, helpful and professional. We will always appreciate the staff of Shambala Sun for their love and support.

Raymond died the way he lived, helping people. He is our hero, and you are heroes for what you are doing for him, and also for us. Nova Scotia is a good place to be. Our hope is that all the ‘Raymonds’ of the world can someday find their own ‘Nova Scotia’.