A candlelit memorial was held on Saturday night at the Penticton Skate Park on Riverside Drive in honour of a 16-year-old Okanagan boy who was fatally stabbed in downtown Kelowna last month.
Elijah Beauregard, known to many as Eli, was stabbed on June 27. The incident happened in the parking lot behind the Bank of Montreal on Water Street.
“He was hanging out with some homeless people,” said Eli’s father, Rob Beauregard.
He died in hospital three days later.
READ MORE: Teen stabbed in downtown Kelowna dies
“We want answers, we want to know what happened,” Rob said.
Eli was raised in Penticton and attended four different local schools.
WATCH (July 2, 2019): Kelowna stabbing victim’s father hopes death serves as warning about dangers of living on the streets
On Saturday, former classmates gathered to share stories, glow sticks and bracelets lit up the night sky and a moment of silence was held in Eli’s memory.
“He definitely affected a lot of lives, and it was nice to hear. Some of the school kids have stories about going to school with him, things I never knew,” Rob said on Sunday.
Rob said Eli had been living on the streets for about three months before he died and that it was by his own choosing. He was reportedly staying at a youth shelter operated by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.
At the memorial, Eli’s dad spoke out about mental health awareness and youth homelessness.
“My message was basically that there is always a better answer than going to the streets,” he said.
If you’re having issues, there is always somebody there to talk.
“I really think it comes down to mental health. The person that did this to him, I think if they had the mental health help that they needed, they may never have made a decision to do something like that.”
WATCH (July 1, 2019): A stabbing in downtown Kelowna last week has now resulted in the death of a teenager
RCMP arrested a suspect in the stabbing last weekend and took the individual into custody, but they were released a short time later without any charges laid.
RCMP say the investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, a second candlelight vigil will be held on Sunday night at the sails at Kelowna City Park.
A private funeral service will be held later this week at the Providence Funeral Home in Penticton.
Family and friends plan to gather on Okanagan Lake beach near the SS Sicamous following the service, and members of the public wishing to pay their respects are welcome to attend.