‘My son is gone’: Candlelight vigil held to honour man killed outside of Winnipeg hotel

By | August 10, 2020

Family and friends of Joshua Hansen are struggling to cope with his loss and the idea of living in a world without him.

About 100 people attended a candlelight vigil on Monday evening for the 29-year-old who was killed last week outside a Winnipeg hotel.

As loved ones presented her with flowers and sage, Elizabeth Thomas embraced them crying, “My son is gone.”

Another person cried out, “Somebody has to know something.”

About 100 people attended a vigil for Joshua Hansen near where he was killed at the Mount Royal Hotel in the area of Main Street and Higgins Avenue. Family and friends are devastated and calling for justice for him. (Rachel Bergen/CBC)

Officers found Joshua Robert Jeromiah Hansen, who is from Peguis First Nation, outside the Mount Royal Hotel on Higgins Avenue near Main Street just before 11 p.m., the Winnipeg Police Service said in a news release on last Friday.

Someone flagged down a police patrol unit and told officers a man had been assaulted in the parking lot, the release said.

When the officers arrived at the hotel, they found Hansen in critical condition. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

The next morning, RCMP went to deliver the news to Thomas at her home near Teulon, Man.

“It was so terrifying. Unreal … It is so surreal for me still. I can’t believe he’s gone,” she said at the vigil.

Winnipeg police told CBC News on Monday there are no updates in the case at this time.

Joshua Hansen’s mother Elizabeth Thomas hugs one of the people who attended a candlelight vigil on Monday. (Rachel Bergen/CBC)

The family is calling for justice.

“We’re hoping somebody has information and can come forward to help us find who did this to him,” said Hansen’s aunt Tessa Hansen.

Gentle, generous young man: family

Although Joshua’s life ended brutally, his family remembers him as a fun-loving man who was gentle, kind and liked to dance.

“He wasn’t a fighter, you know? He was a lover. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it,” Tessa said. 

Joshua was also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, his sister Alexi Hansen said. He had a long-time boyfriend of nearly six years.

Candles, photos, flowers and sage were laid at the feet of Elizabeth Thomas, whose son Joshua Hansen was killed last week. (Rachel Bergen/CBC)

Cody Ice said he and Joshua had plans to get married.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “I expected to live my life a long time with him and it just got cut so short.”

“Everything changed in the blink of an eye,” Tessa added.

Lasting legacy

Although police haven’t spoken about any motives in Joshua’s homicide, Alexi thinks it has to do with Winnipeg’s drug problem.

She says her family hopes to establish a foundation to provide hope and healing for people who struggle with addictions.

“There needs to be more resources, and we need to find healing and helping other people and moving forward with this in my brother’s honour,” she said.

“We want to fight for change.”

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