‘A hole in my heart’: Mother of Vancouver road rage victim says son would forgive his shooter
The mother of a Vancouver man who was killed in an apparent road rage incident on Friday says she believes her son would forgive the shooter, if he was still alive.
Willis Hunt, 33, was shot dead near the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge around 1:30 a.m., in what police believe started as a driving altercation.
Willis’ mother Sunni, speaking from Prince Rupert, B.C., where she had gone to attend the funeral of a niece, said she’s still reeling from the news.
She said she found out about her son’s killing when a friend phoned her telling her she needed to talk to her daughter.
“And I went, ‘No, no, no, that didn’t happen,'” Hunt said. “I was just praying no, not my son, not Willis, not him.”
Hunt described her son as a gentle spirit, full of love, kindness and joy and popular with his friends and his East Vancouver community.
“He was a good young man and he was just in the prime of his life. He was generous, he could lift people up when they were down, he was gentle, he loved his family,” she said.
Willis had grown up in East Vancouver, where he attended school at Britannia and went on to work in carpentry, she said.
She added he lived just a block away from her and was particularly close with the family, visiting often.
“We always told each other ‘I love you.’ We never said goodbye without saying, ‘I love you, son,'” she said.
“I can’t believe I won’t see my son again, I just can’t believe that.
“He’s going to be a hole in my heart for the rest of my life.”
WATCH: Vancouver man shot and killed in early morning road rage incident
Willis was with a female friend, who was driving, at the time of the fatal shooting. She suffered minor injuries.
Hunt also provided an account of what happened that night as relayed to her by Willis’ friend.
“The driver, his friend … it was on her side, and she got out first, and Willis got out, too, and went over and said, ‘What is the problem?’ … Willis just went over and moved her behind him, and that’s when the gun came out,” she said.
“The gun came out and they just shot him, and it happened so fast, so fast.”
She also had a message for the person who took her son’s life.
“Please, for your sake, you need to come forward. This country isn’t a place for violence with guns, and I really hope that justice will prevail,” she said.
“My son would forgive him. You know that, he would probably forgive him.”
Hunt’s family is now trying to put together a fundraiser to help her fly back down to the Lower Mainland and organize a funeral in East Vancouver, where she says her son would want to be laid to rest.
People who want to donate can contact Christine Smith.
WATCH: One man hospitalized after road rage incident on Bowen Island
Meanwhile, Vancouver police continue to investigate the killing.
Investigators are looking for a white sedan in connection with the killing.
Homicide investigators are also asking anyone who may have dashcam footage from the area near McGill Street and Renfrew Street taken early Friday morning, or who has other information, to call the Vancouver Police Department at 604-717-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Willis Hunt is Vancouver’s 14th homicide of 2018.
—With files from Negar Mojtahedi
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