Members of Calgary’s Sudanese community laid flowers on a Forest Lawn sidewalk in tribute to the man who was shot and killed by police on Saturday.
Family friends Gar Gar and Malakal Luak have confirmed Latjor Tuel, a Sudanese community member, died in the shooting.
Police shot and killed Tuel in the 4500 block of 17 Avenue S.E. after receiving a weapons complaint.
Police said witnesses claimed the man assaulted a bystander and threatened others. The Calgary Police Service said he seriously injured a K9.
Khor Top, president of the South Sudanese Community Association, said people came together to mourn Tuel, a man he has known for almost 19 years.
“He’s a very kind and humble person, a very intelligent man, a man of his people and of his community. He has done a lot for our community. He has contributed a lot,” he said Sunday.
Tuel’s friend Gabriel Mbataaboro said Tuel was living with him.
“This young man was a brother to me,” he said.
“He’s the kindest person I’ve ever met, very smart kid, and he’s also a family man.”
‘Saddened and heartbroken’
Top said the community is “saddened and heartbroken” by the “traumatic situation,” especially how Tuel’s body lay on the ground for hours, which is disrespectful in Sudanese culture.
“We are working closely with the police to find out exactly what escalated the situation where somebody would be shot in that desperate situation.”
“Recently, I have learned that he was struggling. He was in mental distress,” Top said.
Luak told Global News that Tuel had been a child soldier.
‘That could’ve been me’
Chatim Thor, a Sudanese youth leader, said the shooting is “so upsetting” and people need answers.
“We are looking for the police to protect us here. We are looking for safety here. Many people have come here for safety, left the war-torn country of Sudan to come here and get a better life,” he said.
“We find joy here, but yet, we die so easily.”
Police said they attempted a “peaceful negotiation,” but the man’s actions led to officers firing their guns.
“This can’t bring him back, but we want justice. The youth want to be assured that they are safe in this community. Are we safe in this country or is it the Sudanese against the police?” Thor said.
“That could’ve been me. That could’ve been some other person. That could’ve been another kid. The man has a family back home that is depending on him.”
Heather Campbell, a citizen-appointed member of the Calgary Police Commission, tweeted: “More details will come in the ensuing days. More questions will be asked of the police in due course. Right now, a man is tragically dead in a horrific manner. A family has lost a loved one and a son. Crisis is showing itself in layers. A community is in deep mourning and grief.”
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating.