UPDATED: Hundreds turned out at the Thursday evening vigil at Walnut Grove Community Park, gathering around the skate park bowl and laying a tribute of bouquets of flowers, lighted candles, backpack, and a skateboard.
There were many tears and hugs shared among the crowd included children, youth, and adults, as well as police on hand to apparently answer any questions.
Christian Lussin didn’t know the boy well, but he mourns his passing all the same.
The 17-year-old Walnut Grove teen laid a small bouquet of flower and a note on the edge of the Walnut Grove skatepark: “Prayers go out to you and your family. R.I.P.”
Lussin delivered the offering on Thursday afternoon, as the Langley neighbourhood was rocked by news of a teen’s passing the night before – allegedly due to a drug overdose. The coroner is still investigating the cause of death.
RCMP confirmed there was an apparent overdose of a younger person on site, but would not comment further.
The Langley School District issued a statement late Thursday afternoon confirming the victim was a Grade 9 Walnut Grove Secondary student.
“Losing a student at one of our schools impacts everyone in our community, including students, teachers, and our staff,” said district spokesperson Joanne Abshire. “With permission from the student’s family, the school has shared the news in an email to families and staff.”
“I wish it didn’t happen to anyone,” Lussin told reporters at the skate park. “I didn’t know him much, but I wish I’d got to know him a bit better, honestly. No one deserves to die like this, at such a young age.”
Meanwhile, others are offering to help out the family with food and other supports.
The school posted its condolences on social and offered links to grief support and counselling services.
“Recognizing that this is a difficult subject matter to discuss with your children, we ask for families to share this news with their children,” the post read. “It is important that each family handle this with their child in their own unique way.”
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has since been called in to investigate this case, noting police were in the proximity when a person was found in Walnut Grove park, and subsequently declared deceased.