'I forgive you': Hundreds gather to mourn two kids killed in Fort Saskatchewan
EDMONTON -- A park in Fort Saskatchewan was awash in light during a candle-lit vigil Wednesday night, as hundreds gathered to express condolences for two local children who died suddenly over the weekend.
“To the lady that struck my son, there are no hard feelings. It was an accident,” said Cliff McPhee. “If it needs to be said, I forgive you.”
McPhee’s 15-year-old son Jesse was killed Saturday morning, when he was struck by a vehicle as he attempted to walk across Highway 21 in Fort Saskatchewan.
It happened around 6 a.m., McPhee was rushed to hospital where he died. The driver of the vehicle, a 54-year-old woman, was not injured.
McPhee could be seen hugging and consoling several of Jesse’s friends and classmates.
He spoke to CTV News Edmonton because he wanted to thank Fort Saskatchewan for the support, and to offer advice to young people who live there.
“Don't go through it yourself. You young people need to realize, that whatever you're going through, there's somebody to talk to and you need to talk to them,” McPhee said.
The vigil also honoured a baby who was also killed on Saturday.
Emergency crews were called to a home in Fort Saskatchewan at 6:43 p.m. for reports of a baby in medical distress.
The boy later identified as one-year-old Ares, was taken to hospital where he died.
Police said there was a second child at the scene who suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The father of both children, Damien Christopher Starrett, 30, of Fort Saskatchewan has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of the baby, and assault against the second child.
“Me as a mom, I felt like I needed to do something, because words aren't good enough. And I know the whole community was hurting,” said Kayla MacGregor, who organized the event.
About 400 people were in RCMP Park to sign books of condolence, release balloons and light candles.
“It's just to brighten up a time and a really dark situation,” said Kayla MacGregor.
The family of Ares Starrett requested privacy through the RCMP.
Damien Christopher Starrett is scheduled to appear in Fort Saskatchewan Provincial Court on Thursday.