The father of a 17-year-old girl who died after being stabbed in a classroom in Leduc, Alta., says he wants the world to know what an incredible person she was.
“She was this bright-eyed daddy’s girl who was loved by her mum, her dad, her brothers, her sisters… by this whole community,” Dale Winkler said of his daughter Jennifer on Tuesday night.
Dale said while he is still trying to come to terms with what he called the “nightmare” that unfolded just a day earlier, he feels compelled to talk about his love for his daughter.
“She was bright, smart, creative — always doing funny little things,” he said. “They say… (kids can be) crazy teenagers — there was none of that. She wasn’t like that.
“I want everyone to know who Jenny was, what a beautiful soul she was… She would never hurt anybody.”
Dale lives in Millet, about a 20-minute drive south of Leduc where Jennifer’s mother lives. He said the father of Jennifer’s best friend called him on Monday to tell him what happened.
He got in touch with RCMP who confirmed she had been stabbed and told him to go to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. He said he hoped her injuries would be minor but raced up the highway to Edmonton, spotting the helicopter that was airlifting her to hospital while he was en route to meet her. He said when he got to the hospital, his daughter was already gone.
“It’s not right,” he said. “It’s not fair.
“School should have been a safe place for her… and I’m not blaming anybody for that — it’s nobody’s fault.”
Dale said Jennifer had seven siblings and split her time between his home in Millet and his mother’s home in Leduc.
He said she played hockey and soccer, mostly just to hang out with her friends, but also had a passion for creating art.
“Me and her mum supported her artistic side… buying her computers and stuff for drawing,” Dale said. “She was amazing, talented.
“I just want her to walk down that road again,” he said, gesturing to the street by his home. “Her friends have been coming to the house, sitting in her room…. crying and touching her things.”
Dale said he has received support and condolences from many in the community and beyond. Teens have dropped off letters explaining to him how his daughter Jennifer was a loving person who helped them get through tough times.
“It shows there is some heart out there,” he said. “(Me and her mother) both loved her to death… I’m going to miss her.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the RCMP announced 19-year-old Dylan Thomas Pountney has been charged in the deadly attack on Jennifer at Christ the King School on Monday morning. Pountney is facing one count of first-degree murder. Police said the two students knew each other but didn’t say how.
Winkler’s family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of her funeral.
Students at the school returned to class on Wednesday, after classes were cancelled on Tuesday. The school remained open to staff and students Tuesday to anyone who wished to access counselling supports.