The grandparents of the suspect behind a violent stabbing in downtown Kingston on Sept. 12 are sharing letters they say he wrote describing his struggle with addiction.
According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ontario’s police watchdog, a 22-year-old man repeatedly stabbed Christopher Groeneveld-Barry, 40, at the corner of Queen and Bagot streets, killing him, before attacking an 85-year old man, who sustained injuries but survived the incident.
The SIU was called in to investigate after it says a nearby police officer responded to the stabbing and shot the suspect. The 22-year-old also reportedly harmed himself during the incident, and another officer discharged his conducted energy weapon, according to the SIU.
The suspect, later identified by the SIU as Evan Freeman, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Now, over two months since the stabbing, Freeman’s grandparents, Gerald and Dianna Summers, are revealing letters written by their grandson that describe his addiction to crystal meth.
One letter reads, in part: “Crystal was my everything, now I’m just better off dead; I lived for crystal there’s nothing else I really care about.”
According to the Summers, Justin was Freeman’s former boss, however they don’t know where he worked.
Dianna sat at her kitchen table and read the letters to Global News, including one paragraph in which Freeman describes his struggle with addiction and what may have led him to Queen and Bagot streets the morning of the stabbing.
Freeman’s grandparents say the young man’s life was chaos from the very beginning. They described his mother battling her own addictions, which they say forced her to give Freeman to the Summers two weeks after he was born in 1996. They also described Freeman as a child who found trouble, resulting in countless trips to the principal’s office. Once the school bell rang, he would bring that anger home and take it out on his sister, his grandmother said.
“He was violent with his sister. She wanted to be friends,” Dianna said. When asked if she ever thought he was capable of murder, she said: “We, of course, seen signs. We were worried about him at a young age.”
On the Saturday before the attack, Freeman paid a visit to Gerald, a man he called dad, to talk about changing his life and getting sober. It was a moment, Gerald told Global News, that he thought was a turning point in Freeman’s life.
“I thought to myself, ‘This kid just might make it,’ and then to get this, that was a shock,” Gerald said.
When Gerald was asked about the first family Christmas without Freeman, he began to tear up.
“I’ll miss his face. He was a good lad, he really was,” he said.
Throughout the interview, Dianna said her family is deeply sorry to all those affected by Freeman’s attack and that she hasn’t slept or eaten since she received the news.
The Summers also say that while they don’t blame police for their grandson’s death, they do feel he was failed by the system time and time again throughout his life.