WATCH: Justice officials in Florida are trying to determine whether to prosecute the teenage son of a Canadian diplomat as a juvenile or an adult. Jackson Proskow reports.
Canada’s Consul General in Miami says she’s thankful for the “outpouring of support” she and her family have received since the shooting death of her 17-year-old son and the arrest of his younger brother.
Roxanne Dubé‘s son, Jean Wabafiyebazu, died Monday in a shootout during a suspected drug-deal-gone-bad. Her 15-year-old son, Marc Wabafiyebazu, was arrested at the scene on a charge of felony murder. While he has not be formally charged for that offence, Marc is being held in juvenile detention while authorities determine whether he should be charged as an adult.
His next court appearance is set for April 8.
“We can only hope that, in time, we will find common purpose towards diminishing the causes of such violent crimes,” Dubé said in a statement.
“For now, we just want to be there for Marc, our incredibly caring son who loved his brother very much, and to say goodbye, ever so tenderly and quietly to Jean, our love.”
Another young man, suspected drug dealer Joshua Wright, 17, was also shot to death in the incident. Dubé shared her sympathies for his family, as well.
“We also want to express our most sincere condolences to the family of Joshua Wright who have also lost their son and to all of those who have been so tragically affected in this unimaginable circumstance. Your grief is our grief.”
She requested privacy as her family dealt with the loss, but said the messages of support have “touched us deeply.”
The Wabafiyebazu brothers had recently moved with their mother to Miami, from Ottawa, in February. Dubé, previously a Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe and a director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa was appointed to the position of consul general in November.
Germano Wabafiyebazu, the boys’ father, told Global News he suspected his sons were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Also facing a charge of felony murder, and possession of a weapon, is 19-year-old Anthony Rodriguez, who suffered a bullet wound during the incident.
Under Florida law, any person who takes part in a violent felony in which someone dies can be charged with murder.
Marc does not have any sort of diplomatic immunity or privilege because of his mother’s position as consul general.
As a consular officer she has only “functional immunity in respect of both criminal and civil matters and their personal inviolability is limited,” according to the State Department.
“They only have immunity for official acts, with respect to both criminal and civil matters,” a U.S. State Department official told Global News.
While family members of diplomatic agents, such as ambassadors, have diplomatic immunity, family members of consular officers have “no criminal immunity or inviolability at all.”