A Halifax woman whose teenage son died after being shot in the city’s west-end on Friday has issued challenges to both the killer and the friends of Triston Reece.
Dale Russell said she’s forgiven her son’s killer and wants them to speak to her.
“How you did it, you’re a coward and you’re weak,” Russell said in an interview on Sunday. “But I challenge you to knock on my door.
“I’ve already forgiven you. You can knock on my door at any time and I would like you to explain to me why you did this. I just need to know why.”
She said her son was shot three times, twice in the head and once in the chest, on Friday around 5:30 p.m. on Scot Street. He was in a car he borrowed from his mom.
He died shortly after midnight in the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Halifax Regional Police are investigating and haven’t made any arrests.
Russell urged Reece’s friends not to retaliate, but instead pour themselves into achieving their goals in his memory.
“Anybody that knew Triston and loved Triston, I need them to take his work ethic, his dreams, his way of living and apply it to their own life. And I want them all to come to me and tell me what they did and how they honoured my son in their life. That’s what I want.”
‘Own the power’
Russell said she doesn’t want anyone else to go through the grief she expects to be dealing with for the rest of her life.
“I don’t want another child dead. I don’t want our young men dead. Our young black men need to stand in and own the power that has been given to them and use that energy instead of shooting somebody, killing somebody, or hurting somebody… pour that into your own life.
“Get an education. Once you have an education you have choices.”
She doesn’t want his tragic death to define her son, either.
“I don’t want this terrible unthinkable act to be his legacy, because his dream in life and his goal in life was to be in the NFL or the CFL, and I can’t have this one act define my son because he was here for 19 years and I don’t think you should give power to such evil.”
‘One of the best players in Canada’
Reece was a top talent for the Halifax Citadel High School football team and was working on getting his grades up to get into Saint Mary’s University and play for the Huskies.
Quentin (Snoopy) Tynes, who coached Reece during his atom years and into provincial championships, said he was always one of the best players in Canada for his age group.
He was a linebacker, kicker and punter. He could play quarterback. Tynes said Reece’s strength was his ability to do it all.
“He’s that type of player that’s every coach’s dream,” said Tynes. “Everything he did, he was good at it. As a coach, I’ve been coaching for 20 years, I’ve coached probably over 1,000 kids, and you know you get one of those kids every 500 or 600 kids you coach.”
Little Ray Lewis
In the atom league, Reece hit so hard Tynes and his team started calling him Little Ray Lewis, after the thunderous hitter and former linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.
Tynes fondly recalled how coaches used to uproariously laugh when parents told them Reece was hitting their kids too hard.
“I’ll remember him with a smile on his face saying, ‘Yes coach, I’ll do whatever you need done,’ and I’ll remember him as being one of the hardest hitters I’ve ever seen in minor football.”
“We lost a good person to some senseless violence. It really hurts me,” added Tynes, noting that Reece’s death has devastated the football community. “They say the good die young. Well, they’re right.”
He hopes anyone who knows something comes forward.
Russell said she will remember how her son owned the football field, his love for his teammates, his happiness and his humour.
“My greatest accomplishment in life,” she said. “That’s the only way I can describe him. He was a football player, a great young man. His heart was amazing. He had the kindest heart. And he was my only child.”
She said she has no words for how grateful she is to the community for their love and support in the wake of the shooting.
Reece was loved by many friends. Russell wants to see the young men he joined on the football field give back and spend time coaching, she said.
Citadel High football coach Mike Tanner said Reece was a selfless person and a great leader.
New students are rarely starters on the Citadel football team, but Reece’s talent landed him the position in Grade 10, said Tanner.
“He was there to help the younger kids if they needed it. He was a very, very, very positive influence for our program,” said Tanner.
Killing has no power over her
Russell said her faith makes it easy to forgive the killer, but implored that doesn’t mean she condones what happened. She wants to see the person or people responsible go to prison.
“I don’t want your life taken from you. I want you to live a long and healthy life with the fact that you took a great man off the face of this Earth for whatever reason it is.
“I’m not going to allow what you did to me to have any power on me. I’m going to give that back to you. I’m releasing it to you. That is your dirt to carry, not mine. I have to forgive.”