The mother of a man who was killed in Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park says her family is traumatized and heartbroken by his death.
Cindy Parsons says her 29-year-old son, Fred Parsons, and two friends went for a walk on Sept. 6 and were playing on the swings.
“That evening the three friends stopped to play on the swings. They laughed and giggled as they bumped each other,” Cindy wrote in a letter released to the media. “It is their laughter and joy that possibly drew the attention of thugs.”
Cindy calls her son a handsome, funny, kind, cheerful, gentle, generous, goofy, thoughtful and unique man.
One of the friends on a walk with Fred was, who Cindy calls, his soulmate Rose. She does not have permission to release the name of the third friend.
“All three friends were bear sprayed, along with Fred’s small dog. Fred was stabbed and did not survive,” the letter says. “In the face of this fast and forceful aggression, the three gentle friends did not have a chance to escape.”
Cindy writes that the families of the three friends and many who knew the friends are traumatized by this violent act.
“The circle of trauma is wide. Fred was the only person who died but there are numerous traumatized people from this senseless act of violence,” Cindy writes. “We are grateful for the outpouring of love and concrete support for our family and also for Fred’s two walking companions and their families as well as Fred’s housemates and staff.”
In the letter, Cindy addresses what she calls hurtful rumours on social media. She says Fred nor his friends were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the attack.
She says Fred was born with disabilities.
“He struggled mightily and worked harder than anyone I know to adapt and compensate for his unique wiring,” Cindy writes. “Fred also had many gifts that were exceptional and uncommon. He was a much loved, admired and respected young man.”
She says Fred was a trusting man, which often made him vulnerable.
“One irony in all of this mess is that, if the thugs had asked to be his friend, he would have agreed,” the letter says. “He would have gone for a walk or for coffee with them. He really liked helping people.”
Cindy thanks the community for their patience and respecting the privacy of the family during this time. They also thank the RCMP for their work and “speedy” arrests.
An evening vigil will be planned for Maffeo Sutton Park to honour Fred’s life.