Port Alberni mayor urges residents struggling with homicide story to seek help

Port Alberni mayor urges residents struggling with homicide story to seek help
Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions.

The mayor of Port Alberni says she’s been thinking non-stop for the victims of three homicides in Northern B.C. and their families, now with a tragic connection to her city.

On Wednesday, police charged 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky and his 19-year-old friend Kam McLeod, both from Port Alberni, with one count each of second-degree murder in the death of one man and they are suspects in the fatal shootings of a young couple.

The story has put Port Alberni into the international spotlight, and Minions says residents in the Island community are having a hard time dealing it as more details become known.

Now the city hopes to gain a sense of community through this, by helping each other.

Minions urges anyone struggling with the story to reach out, with mental health services available by contacting a doctor’s office or at a hospital to get more information.

Much of the focus for support from the city is for Port Alberni teenagers, many of whom Minions says are struggling to wrap their heads around the story.

She says many are recent graduates, who may have gone to school with the two young men on the run from police.

“I can’t imagine trying to understand, wondering if there should have been signs, wondering if there were signs that people missed,” Minions says.

“So I know I’ve heard from a lot of people in our community who are worried about their children and really just wanting to make sure that they get the support that they need to be able to, to deal with this.”

Minions says people should reach out to family and friends and make sure they are talking about their struggles.

She also added the community will be providing whatever resources necessary to help local RCMP during their investigation and she will reach out to the Mayor of Gillam, Manitoba, to connect and provide support.

Police officers from the four western provinces and Ontario have converged around the small northern Manitoba community as the nation-wide manhunt for McLeod and Schmegelsky continues.


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