'He'll be missed': Vigil planned in honour of slain Red Deer doctor
EDMONTON -- The central Alberta community that lost a physician and friend in a gruesome attack is still reeling days later.
Dr. Walter Reynolds, a 45-year-old husband and father to two, has been described as passionate, loyal and caring by those who knew him or received his medical expertise.
The doctor was killed at his clinic in Red Deer on Monday, carried out of the office on a stretcher and declared dead in hospital. Deng Mabiour, 54, was arrested at the scene and later charged with first-degree murder. A hammer was recovered at the scene, and court records showing the accusations against Mabiour say he was also carrying a real or fake machete.
The violent and abrupt nature of Reynolds’ death has been most troubling, community members have told CTV News Edmonton.
“One of our coaches said he was a gentleman. And that coach rarely uses that term when he describes people, so definitely a strong member in our community,” said Ronnie Jaber of Orange Theory Red Deer.
“He’ll be missed.”
RCMP have encouraged the community to use its victim services program to be connected to counselling or other grief and trauma management programs.
“After witnessing or even learning of a tragic event like this that we experienced on Monday, everybody experiences trauma in different ways. And it can affect anybody, from the people that were on scene including our officers, to witnesses that were there, or even people at home, watching it on the news,” explained Red Deer RCMP Corp. Michael Evans.
He said there has been an outpouring following Reynolds’ death.
“Not just in Red Deer but people who have moved away from Red Deer and been his patient over the years.”
Reynolds moved to Canada from South Africa in 2003, and to Red Deer in 2006.
A candlelight vigil in his memory has been planned for Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at Red Deer City Hall.
The Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association has an event planned for the same date and time at Sir Winston Churchill Square.
A fundraiser for Reynolds’ funeral and family’s travel expenses, as well as his daughters’ future education, had received more than $230,000 as of Thursday afternoon.
'ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE YOU CAN'T NOT LOOK': ARREST WITNESS
The man accused of murdering Reynolds also faces two other charges of assault against a second physician and police officer.
In court for a bail hearing Wednesday, Mabiour failed to answer whether he understood the charges against him.
“When I get healthy, I will remember everything,” he told court over the phone. When asked a second time, he denied an interpreter and said, “I don’t remember because I am sick.”
In the midst of a rambling response, Mabiour requested to see a doctor and said he had lost his memory.
A man who watched police bring Mabiour out of the clinic in handcuffs on Monday said Mabiour had a “confused face” and wasn’t strongly resisting.
He appeared to have blood his clothes, Sylvan Lake resident Jamie recalled.
“It’s just one of those things were you can’t not look. I mean, they brought him right past my window, but it was like, wish you hadn’t.”
His wife had been next door when a woman ran in: “When the woman came in to call 911, she was saying, 'This guy’s stabbing a doctor.' They didn’t know if he was coming there next or if it was random or anything like that.”
The pair later saw paramedics bring Reynolds’ body out of the office.
The incident has left them both shaken up.
“He looked dead to me. He wasn’t moving and he was covered in blood. His face was really badly beaten… I don’t know what I was expecting to see, but I was not expecting to see somebody, like, beaten to death. It’s definitely affected us a bit," Jamie said.
"It's dark. It's like an evil you haven't ever seen before."
Mabiour’s bail hearing was put off until Sept. 9. He’ll be given a copy of the charges to read.
RCMP Victim Services can be reached at 403-406-2345 Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., and on Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.