Former classmates of northern B.C. murder suspect say he would describe killing himself, others
WARNING: This story contains content that some readers may find disturbing
Vancouver Island residents who say they went to high school with one of the two teens suspected of killing three people in northern B.C. say he had a history of making disturbing statements describing murder and suicide.
Authorities across Canada are continuing to look for 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky, two Port Alberni teens who police believe shot Lucas Fowler of Sydney, Australia and his girlfriend Chynna Deese of Charlotte, N.C.
They have also been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a third man, identified Wednesday as Leonard Dyck of Vancouver.
WATCH: Teen murder suspect’s former classmate speaks to Global News
In an interview with Global News, Madison Hempsted said she shared one class in Grade 7 with Schmegelsky in Port Alberni, when they were both 13 years old.
Hempsted said she had only limited interactions with Schmegelsky during that year, but what he would say to her was troubling.
“I don’t want to be rude, but he was kind of a weird kid,” she said. “He didn’t really talk to anyone, super into himself. But when he did talk to people, the things he said were kind of scary…. All he ever said to me was how he wanted to kill me and ways he would do it.
“I never really thought anything of it until now, because we all thought he was just making jokes.”
Hempsted originally recalled Schmegelsky’s violent comments in a Facebook comment that has since been deleted.
Other comments from people who claimed they also went to school with Schmegelsky have since been deleted as well.
WATCH: The northern B.C. murders: a timeline
On Wednesday, Hempsted said Schmegelsky would allegedly describe violent acts to her and her friends.
“There were times he would tell me and my friends ways he wanted to kill us and then himself, which is scary,” she said. “One of my friends commented that Bryer said he wanted to kill his whole family.”
One interaction Hempsted described was particularly gruesome.
“[Schmegelsky] would say things about how he would cut our heads off and then he would take a gun and put it in his mouth and shoot himself in front of us. Pretty detailed stuff,” she said.
Hempsted said she and her friends didn’t think much of Schmegelsky’s comments at the time, assuming he wasn’t serious about his alleged threats.
“He didn’t have very many friends,” she said. “We thought he was trying to be funny and make people laugh and make friends, because he was so quiet.”
It wasn’t until Hempsted saw Schmegelsky’s picture on the news that she made the connection.
“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s really sad they’re missing,'” she said. “And then three days later, people were like, ‘Oh, they’re suspects.’ And then I just remembered everything he said.”
A second former classmate of Schmegelsky’s, who did not want his name released, told Global News he went to school with Schmegelsky from kindergarten to Grade 7.
WATCH: Burned out truck found near Dease Lake allegedly connected to BC double murder suspects
The classmate recalled Schmegelsky would often talk about violence, describing him as an “angry kid.”
He said he’s seen Hempsted’s post and that her recollection lines up with what he remembers of Schmegelsky.
Global News has reached out to more of Schmegelsky’s former classmates for further comment.
WATCH: Suspects in B.C. double murder last spotted in northern Manitoba
An attempt was also made to get comment from Schmegelsky’s father, but he could not be reached.
Al Schmegelsky did tell the Canadian Press Wednesday that his son struggled with his parents’ divorce in 2005 and his main influences were “YouTube and video games.”
He said he believes his son will “go out in a blaze of glory” and is “on a suicide mission.”
Relatively little else is known about Schmegelsky or McLeod. The two were believed to be travelling in a red-and-grey pickup truck to Whitehorse, Yukon, in search of work last week.
The two appeared to have been active on social media. A Facebook account associated with a Bryer Schmegelsky featured a 2015 message that read: “Guns don’t kill people. It’s mostly the bullets.”
Hempsted said she quickly lost contact with Schmegelsky after Grade 7, and didn’t interact with him outside of their one class together.
She couldn’t speak to any of Schmegelsky’s alleged interests in guns, and didn’t know whether he owned any guns.
But she pushed back on comments she’s heard from others who express disbelief that Schmegelsky or McLeod could be responsible for any of the murders.
“All the parents are saying like, ‘Oh it’s not them, they had such a bright future, they look like good kids, they don’t look like they’d be a criminal,'” she said. “But what does a criminal look like?
WATCH: Greater police presence deployed in Gillam, Man. to locate suspects connected to B.C. murders
“Anyone could have done anything. It’s sad if it’s someone we knew and grew up with, but it could be anyone, I guess.”
Hempsted says that in hindsight, she and her friends should have reported Schmegelsky’s comments to a teacher or someone else at the school, but didn’t think anything of them.
She’s also not sure if she will take them to RCMP, despite several people telling her on social media she should.
“I don’t know how things he said to me six years ago matters now,” she said. “I guess it shows his character, but it doesn’t really help [police] now.”
RCMP in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario all put out alerts Wednesday, warning people that both teens could be in their provinces, and to call police if they’re spotted.
There is now an increased police presence in Manitoba, where the pair’s last known vehicle was spotted burning in the Gillam area.
—With files from Kylie Stanton, Jon Azpiri and the Canadian Press
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