Members of a community northeast of Edmonton gathered on Wednesday night to mourn the loss of a teen and a baby who were killed in separate tragic incidents over the weekend.
A large crowd gathered at Carscadden Park in Fort Saskatchewan to pay tribute to one-year-old Ares Starrett and 15-year-old Jesse McPhee.
Starrett was found by RCMP and paramedics on Saturday evening after they responded to a call about a boy in medical distress.
Starrett’s father, Damien Christopher Starrett, has been charged with second-degree murder in his son’s death. He is also charged with assaulting another child who RCMP have said was present at the time of the incident.
According to RCMP, McPhee was hit by a vehicle on Saturday morning at the intersection of Highway 21 and 84 Street. He was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Police have not laid any charges in connection with the collision.
A makeshift memorial was set up at the park and people hugged and held candles as they paid their respects to the boys who died.
“I don’t know what to say except for, just for all his friends in this community and at school, don’t go through this alone,” Clifford McPhee, Jesse’s father, said Wednesday night.
“For the lady that struck him, I want you to know that I forgive you. There is no hard will. I know it was an accident.”
Kayla MacGregor organized the vigil and said she thinks everybody in the community was shocked by the two deaths over the weekend.
“[I think everyone was] just very devastated,” she said. “As a mom in the community, losing two such young people, on the same day, in such close proximity to each other, I know I was hurting and people around me were really struggling with the thought of how to go about giving these families support and getting the community together.”
MacGregor added that Fort Saskatchewan has been through difficult times before and that she wasn’t surprised a large crowd turned up at the vigil on Wednesday.
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