Rob Beauregard chokes up as he talks about his teenaged son who died Sunday night at Kelowna General Hospital.
“The only thing we were able to save to donate is his eyes,” he told Global News. “So at least somebody out there will be able to see through my son’s eyes again.”
Sixteen-year old Elijah Beauregard, known to many as Eli, was stabbed last Thursday night in downtown Kelowna. It happened in the parking lot behind the Bank of Montreal on Water Street.
“He was hanging out with some homeless people,” Eli’s dad said. “We want answers, we want to know what happened.”
WATCH MORE: Teen stabbed in downtown Kelowna dies
Eli had been living on the streets for about three months. According to his dad, it was by his own choosing.
“Eli always loved the streets,” Beauregard said. “A lot of teenagers are looking for freedom, right.”
Beauregard said he talked to his son just six days before the stabbing. He said Eli told him he was staying at youth shelter operated by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs and reported that he was happy and healthy.
“I said, ‘As long as you’re happy and healthy and everything is good then I’m here if you want me and your mom is there if you want her, just reach out if you need somebody,’ and he said, ‘No dad I’m good,’” Beauregard said.
Diane Entwistle, CEO of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, said the tragedy has been hard for both staff and the other young people who use the services.
“It’s devastating for the kids that knew Eli, it’s devastating for our staff,” she said. “And really what it does is it compels us to work even harder to make sure we can prevent the kinds of situations that happen.”
Chris Sherwood was a friend of Eli’s. She said he was loved by many who knew him.
“He had a good heart, like a really good heart,” she said.
The two met when she too was temporarily homeless. Sherwood said Eli had the nickname “mouse” on the streets.
“Just because of his size, I don’t know, it kind of fit him, he was like slightly feisty but kind of adorable,” she said.
Beauregard said the tragedy has forever changed him. He now plans on visiting youth shelters in the Okanagan and other cities talking to young people about the dangers when choosing a life on the street.
“The street might look appealing and it might look like a fun place to go but if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, all it takes is two seconds and it could be the end of your life,” he said.
RCMP did arrest and take into custody a suspect this past weekend but that individual was released a short time later without any charges.
On Tuesday morning, police said they “had no new developments or information to share.”
A candlelight vigil is being planned for Sunday evening at the sails statue in downtown Kelowna to honour Eli’s life.
“To give all his friends and people that didn’t get a chance to say goodbye really a little closure, ” Beauregard said.
The time of the vigil has not yet been determined.
A funeral for Eli is being planned for later this week.