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Family of Calgary teen homicide victim grieving loss of ‘respectful and hard-working kid’

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The family of a 16-year-old Calgary boy who was killed this week is mourning a gifted athlete who loved his family. Carolyn Kury de Castillo has more. – Apr 2, 2022

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that police are investigating the case as a homicide. 

The family of a 16-year-old Calgary boy who was was killed this week is describing him as a respectful, gifted athlete who loved his family.

“Jal is a very good young man,” said the boy’s uncle, Joseph Jal on Saturday. “He’s very disciplined, loves his family and he wanted to do the best for himself and also for his family,”

Read more: Calgary police investigating ‘shocking’ killing of 16-year-old in Arbour Lake

Jal Jal was a grade 10 student at St. Francis High School who excelled at both basketball and football, according to his family.

“He was amazing and proper. Respectful. He was a hard-working kid who was looking forward to his basketball career. He was a child that asked permission to go meet up with his friends,” said his aunt, Akeir Kuol.

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On March 31, Jal went out and never returned home.

The teen’s body was found in a green space near Arbour Meadows Close in north west Calgary Thursday evening.

Police are investigating his death as a homicide.

Read more: Calgary police investigate shooting in Crescent Heights, third death in 2 days

His family says they have no idea what might have lead up this.

“As a mother of four, it breaks my heart that the mother and the grandmother and the father have taken their time to work so hard to clothe him, to train him, to put him in school. To get him to this place where he’s talking so much about his future and just to be gone in just the blink of an eye,” Kuol said.

Kuol said this tragedy should remind parents to know who their kids are hanging out with online and in person.

“I think we have come to a place where we need to actually start controlling certain relationships, certain communications in certain environments so we’re not in a place where we are burying our children at such a young age after working so hard to raise them,” Kuol said.

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She’s pleading with families to have a meeting with their children, regardless of where they live.

“Talk about things that happen out there. Make it clear to your sons and daughters to communicate and to talk about any of their friends — if they have guns or knives or weapons or anything at all. It’s important that we as a community support the Calgary police as well.”

Read more: Sudanese community remembers man shot and killed by Calgary police as kind, humble person

Both the Calgary Cowboys Minor Football and the Hilltoppers Football Associations posted on social media about the tragedy.

In a Facebook post, the Cowboys said, “When one team suffers, our collective football community suffers alongside each other and as we surround the St. Francis High School community and impacted family and friends with our hearts, thoughts and prayers, we also wish you strength from those closest to you and many fond memories to last forever. We extend our sincerest condolences for what is truly a tragic loss.”

The Hilltoppers extended their deepest sympathy to the family, friends and loved ones, along with the St. Francis High School Community. “We are shocked and saddened by the news of your tragic loss.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help his parents with funeral expenses.

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Police are looking for any information about suspicious activity on Thursday evening between 7 and 9pm by Arbour Meadows Close or across Crowchild Trail on Scenic View Close.

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