‘Senseless and horrible’: Friend of Nanaimo murder victim says he was trying to save others from attackers

'Senseless and horrible': Friend of Nanaimo murder victim says he was trying to save others from attackers
Fred Parsons, 29, was killed in Nanaimo's Maffeo Sutton Park when he was out on a walk with two friends.

Doug Wortley is certain his best friend Fred Parsons, who lived with developmental disabilities, was a hero the night of Sept 5. and saved his friends as well as his beloved dog Knix when he was stabbed to death in Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park.

“He would have been so brave. There was only one way out and it’s in front of his attackers. His girlfriend and friend and small dog are there and they got maced. Fred automatically would defend them in a heartbeat,” said Doug Wortley, a Nanaimo resident who has known Parsons for over three years.

According to Wortley, that warm summer night started out so innocently.

“He had just got back from camping and was with his friend, his girlfriend and this tiny little dog that he loved so much,” said Wortley.

Parsons and his friends were playing on the swings in the park at 11:30 p.m. when they caught the attention of a group that Nanaimo RCMP say had earlier been harassing a security guard.

When officers arrived, they instead found Parsons stabbed to death and his friends distraught and bear sprayed.

It’s a killing that the victim’s mother Cindy Parsons described as “random” and committed by “thugs” in a statement to CHEK News.

“He was a much-loved, admired and respected young man. He was only 29 and he had dreams, goals and passions to explore,” she said.

According to Wortley, Fred Parsons was thriving as a video producer alongside him when he was murdered.

“Me and Fred have filmed down at Maffeo Sutton Park so many times. And to think that this happened in a place that Fred cherished,” said Wortley, who runs Arrowsmith Media.

“It’s not just tragic, it’s scary,” he said.

“I think it’s an awful, awful shame,” said Tim McGrath, a Nanaimo resident and citizen safety and security advocate.

McGrath says Parson’s murder is just the latest in a number of unprovoked violent crimes in the mid-Island city.

“We’re getting seniors assaulted, we’re getting mothers stoned on the streets of Nanaimo. We’re getting now, disabled people killed in a park with their caregiver. This is bizarre,” said McGrath.

In response to the crimes targetting innocent victims, a rally is being organized for Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. on the lawn of the Nanaimo courthouse to call for something to be done to stop the violence.

“It’s so senseless and horrible,” said Wortley.

“Fred would not want his death to be in vain. Fred would want us to step up public safety.”

A vigil is also being organized to honour Fred’s life and take back the park he loved so much, at a later date.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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