Saskatchewan

Homicide victim remembered fondly by community as 'Larry the mall cop'

The Vibank, Sask., man who died on Sunday is being remembered fondly by many in the Regina community, including by his long-time friend and partner. 

Lawrence Godfrey was a survivor of the The Sixties Scoop, according to long-time partner.

Michelle Deschambault and Lawrence Godfrey first met each other in 1990 when they were 16 years old. They met at Cornwall Centre in Regina. (Submitted by Michelle Deschambault)

The Vibank, Sask., man who died on Sunday is being remembered fondly by many in the Regina community, including by his long-time friend and partner. 

Forty-five-year-old Lawrence Robert Godfrey is the city's fourth homicide victim of 2021. Godfrey was pronounced dead after police were called to a residence in the 100 block of St. John Street in Regina early Sunday morning. Anthony Seon of Regina, 25, is charged with second-degree murder. 

Godfrey worked as a security guard at Northgate Mall for 15 years. On Tuesday, the mall posted a memorial message for Godfrey on Facebook.

"The recent loss of Lawrence Godfrey 'Larry the mall cop' with be felt by many as he had a tremendous impact on all who got to know him ... We will never forget the warmth his smile brought to us each and every day," said the Northgate post.

As of Wednesday evening, the post had been shared over 1,800 times and has received over 2,100 likes.

Past and present colleagues, mall patrons and friends flocked to the Facebook post to voice their condolences and comment on his smile and friendliness. 

As of March 10, Northgate Mall's Facebook post about 'Larry the Mall Cop' has been shared over 1,800 times and has received over 2,100 likes. (Northgate Mall/Facebook)

Regina resident Michelle Deschambault and Godfrey had been together as a couple for the majority of the last 20 years. They have an 18-year-old son together named Ethan. Godfrey had other children as well. 

"He was always joking. He always had a smile on his face. He never took anything serious. There was always light-heartedness," said Deschambault. 

"We always seemed to get back together, and we would separate. We were always working through our issues. [But] we were always having a good time. He was an easy person. Willing to help anybody."

Deschambault and Godfrey first met each other in 1990 when they were 16 years old. They met at the Cornwall Centre in Regina.

"It was kind of ironic because he went from hanging out at a mall to working at a mall. And it was such a long profession for him," Deschambault said. 

Deschambault said Godfrey loved animals and rooting for his favourite hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks. 

Godfrey was a survivor of the Sixties Scoop, and was taken away at birth from a hospital in Calgary, according to Deschambault.

"He was taken from his mother at the hospital. He had been taken with his sister and siblings, and he was in foster care in Vancouver, in British Columbia."

The Sixties Scoop refers to a series of policies enacted by provincial child welfare authorities starting in the mid-1950s, under which thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their homes and families, placed in foster homes and eventually adopted out to white families from across Canada and the United States. These children lost their names, their languages and a connection to their heritage. 

Deschambault said Godfrey was reunited with his biological family when he was around 12 years old. His family is from the Muscowpetung First Nation. 

Deschambault said she was not with him when he died, but saw him that day when he had come home to take their dog for a walk.

"He was actually asking to spend time [together]. But he was busy, so I was like, 'Well, once you have time, we'll spend time.'"

Regina police have not yet released details to the public on the circumstance of Godfrey's death. 

"I was in shock. I was in disbelief ... I'm expecting him to come home like every other day when he would come walking through the back door after his shift at work. He won't be coming back," Deschambault said. 

"I'm just going to miss him a terrible amount ... I guess I'm going to miss his smile the most."

A virtual funeral for Godfrey will be held on March 16 and will be live streamed on the Speers Funeral Chapel website. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura is a journalist for CBC Saskatchewan. She is also the community reporter for CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories. Laura previously worked for CBC Vancouver. Some of her former work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, NYLON Magazine, VICE Canada and The Tyee. She holds a master of journalism degree from the University of British Columbia. Follow Laura on Twitter: @MeLaura. Send her news tips at laura.sciarpelletti@cbc.ca

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