‘Taken too soon’: Candlelight vigil and walk held in memory of West Island teen, Lucas Gaudet

Click to play video: 'Candlelight vigil held for Lucas Gaudet' Candlelight vigil held for Lucas Gaudet
A couple of hundred people attended an emotional candlelight vigil and walk in memory of Lucas Gaudet. Montreal police say the 16-year-old student died after he was stabbed outside a West Island high school. Global's Gloria Henriquez was at the vigil and brings us this report. – Mar 11, 2022

A few hundred people gathered in the parking lot of John Rennie High School in Pointe-Claire on Thursday evening as they set out on a two-kilometre walk to St. Thomas High School.

The walk was part of a candlelight vigil organized by two moms at John Rennie, in memory of West Island teenager Lucas Gaudet.

“This path was to basically retrace Lucas’s steps, his last steps,” said vigil organizer Lisa Philippe of the planned route.

Read more: Montreal mothers march in honour of Lucas Gaudet, call for help to end youth violence

Gaudet, a John Rennie student, died following an altercation outside St. Thomas High School on Feb. 8, 2022.

Police said the 16-year-old was stabbed during the incident. He died two days later in hospital.

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Thursday marks the one-month anniversary of his passing.

“It was a real tragedy,” said Savy Lanzisera Nardozza, whose daughter was a classmate of Gaudet’s.

Lanzisera Nardozza and Philippe decided to organize the vigil to show their support not only to Gaudet’s family, but to his friends and classmates, too.

They say it has been difficult for the community to cope with such a senseless and unexpected tragedy.

“I’d like for the kids to feel that we’re honouring Lucas, we’re remembering him and we understand their pain,” said Lanzisera Nardozza.

“We’re all there for the same reason, to show tribute to a beautiful boy that lost his life way too soon,” added Philippe.

Attendees were asked to bring candles and wear either a hockey jersey or something blue to honour Gaudet’s memory.

Hockey was a sport he loved and blue was his favourite colour.

Grade 10 student Regina Lazarraga sported a John Rennie jersey with the number four on it to honour her former classmate.

“Because I’m an athlete, I took it into my own hands to represent Lucas on the field and represent the athlete side of him when he played hockey,” she said.

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Gaudet’s teammates on the the Pierrefonds Barracudas held a short pre-game ceremony in February as a special tribute and last weekend a march was held in Gaudet’s honour.

Click to play video: 'Montreal hockey team honours late teen Lucas Gaudet' Montreal hockey team honours late teen Lucas Gaudet
Montreal hockey team honours late teen Lucas Gaudet – Feb 26, 2022

The goal was to bring forth concerns of parents and youth worried about the spate of violence that has claimed the lives of several teenagers in the city.

That message was echoed Thursday evening.

Many carried posters with Gaudet’s photo with slogans such as “let’s make change,” or “stop the violence.”

One, carried by a group of friends, read “taken too soon.”

In all, six teens have been killed violently in Montreal since February 2021 — four since fall 2021.

Read more: Montreal boys hockey team remembers Lucas Gaudet

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Both Lanzisera Nardozza and Philippe hope Thursday’s vigil will bring healing to the community and a sense of closure.

“I think it’s important for teenagers to walk together, hug, maybe even cry if they need to. To just have some sense of peace and unity within both schools,” Lanzisera Nardozza said.

Philippe agreed.

“We don’t know what to do in these situations and sometimes something like this, where everyone can come together and we’re all on the same page and we’re all here for the same purpose, it’s going to serve a nice feeling for everybody.”

By all accounts, the evening gathering had the intended effect.

Holding back tears, Lazarraga said she was touched by the number of people who showed up.

“It’s just very heartbreaking but by the amount of people that are here you can see that… this is the closure we needed,” she said, “and this is where we’re getting it because we see families and Lucas’ extended family being here, walking, being brave.”

— with files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez and Phil Carpenter

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