It’s been more than six weeks since her son was killed and, for Charla Dopwell, the memories are still raw.
“I sent my son to school and he never came back,” he told Global News outside Mile End High School on Van Horne Avenue in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges district on Saturday. “He never came back and I have to face that every morning when I wake up and look inside his room and he doesn’t come out to greet me.”
Jannai Dopwell-Bailey was stabbed to death in the mid-afternoon of October 18. He was only 16 years old. Police say there was a fight involving a group of teenagers outside his school before he was attacked.
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On Saturday, his family and friends held a march that began right outside his school, next to where he was stabbed. His loved ones said they wanted to honor his memory and make sure he was not forgotten.
“I want people to know that my son is a loving, loving and caring person,” Dopwell said before the march began.
Jannai’s older brother, Tyrese Dopwell-Bailey, told reporters that the teenager was a playful person and was not part of any gang.
“He was a very happy boy, a boy with a lot of potential and he mattered. He mattered. His life mattered, ”he said.
His brother’s murder was the 25th homicide in the city this year, and it followed a series of shootings that city officials and police called this year unusually violent. Community workers and families, including Dopwell-Bailey, have been asking city officials to do more for young people.
“There are certain programs that need to be put in place to help the very young,” said her cousin Onica John. “Because if you leave them hanging, eventually they’ll end up doing things they’re not supposed to do.”
The family is also expressing concern for other young people, saying the Dopwell-Bailey murder goes way beyond her family and could have happened to any teenager.
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On November 14, another 16-year-old, Thomas Trudel, died after being shot. He was also on Dopwell’s mind on Saturday.
“I’m thinking of all the young people, all the children, that this never happens to them,” he said.
She said she hopes politicians take her son’s death seriously and is grateful that Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante visited her after being criticized for going to a vigil for Trudel, who is white, and not having attended. to an earlier march by Dopwell-Bailey.
Police are still searching for a third suspect in the murder.
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