Girlfriend of man killed on Halifax waterfront speaks out, says attack was random

Click to play video: 'Halifax waterfront assault ruled homicide, victim’s pregnant girlfriend speaks out'
Halifax waterfront assault ruled homicide, victim’s pregnant girlfriend speaks out
WATCH: A deadly assault from over the weekend has now been ruled a homicide by the Halifax Regional Police. Megan King spoke to the victim's girlfriend about the fatal incident that unfolded at the Halifax waterfront on Sunday night – Aug 9, 2023

The pregnant girlfriend of a 26-year-old Dartmouth man who died following an altercation on the Halifax waterfront this weekend is speaking out about what happened that night.

Shayla Lorenz, 19, said she arrived at the waterfront area with her late boyfriend, Davelle Desmond, and two other friends to take in the Natal Day fireworks on Sunday evening.

The unexpected circumstances that soon followed proved to be fatal.

“Davelle got into an altercation with this teenager,” she said in an interview with Global News on Wednesday, adding that he originally planned to walk away instead of engaging further.

“He ended up getting hit in his face which led to him falling,” she said. “I fell with him, and that’s when he cracked his head off a picnic table.”

“He was unconscious in my arms … he was taken to the hospital where he later died,” Lorenz said as she struggled to hold back tears.

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Halifax Police responded to the incident on the waterfront boardwalk near the 1500 block of Lower Water Street around 9:40 p.m. Sunday.

In a statement Wednesday, police confirmed the death has been ruled a homicide after an autopsy was conducted.

“Our thoughts are with Davelle’s family and loved ones during this difficult time,” police said.

‘It’s a miracle for me to have his son’

As bystanders attempted to offer support in anticipation of the arrival of first responders, Lorenz said she couldn’t believe what was happening.

“He just finished telling me that he loved me and gave me a kiss,” she said. “They were just trying to help him and bring him back, but nothing would bring him back.”

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She said the person involved in the altercation was a stranger and unknown to Desmond.

Lorenz is six months pregnant with Desmond’s child and is expecting the arrival of a baby boy in November.

“Davelle was literally changing his life around and everybody who has been talking to me is saying, ‘I’ve never seen Davelle do so good in my whole life.’ He was trying to change for me and this baby,” she said.

Lorenz said she sat in the hospital alongside the father-to-be of her expected child until his very last breath.

“I feel like now it’s a miracle for me to have his son … I’ve been feeling the baby kick more and more than it ever did. It’s hard because he’ll never get to meet him,” she said, adding how excited Desmond was to become a new father and welcome another life into the world.

A sonogram of Desmond and Lorenz’s expected child. Shayla Lorenz

Since the weekend’s fatal incident, Lorenz said she’s been receiving lots of support from Desmond’s friends and family, along with her own.

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“That’s what Davelle would want, for them to be there for me and us to all be there for each other,” she said.

“It happened in a blink of an eye, and I’m just so torn apart.”

Lorenz said she hopes the person responsible for the assault leading to Desmond’s death is aware that “they took someone who meant a lot to everybody”.

“He was a caring person, he protected everybody, his friends, his family, me, his unborn child, everything,” she said. “He had a heart of gold.”

Desmond and Lorenz. Shayla Lorenz

Regarding the ongoing investigation, Lorenz said a detective had recently contacted her saying a surveillance video was located, adding: “They have hope they’re going to find out who did this.”

On Tuesday, Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Const. John MacLeod could not provide an update about any potential suspects but asked that anyone with information contact police at 902-490-5020.

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“We know there were people in the area, and we are asking that anyone who has information that hasn’t spoken to our investigators yet, they should contact police,” he said.

Reflecting on her boyfriend’s character, Lorenz couldn’t help but bring a smile to her face.

“He just loved singing, rapping, dancing, and acting a fool,” she laughed. “He always knew how to put a smile on people’s faces … especially when they didn’t want a smile on their face.”

She said Desmond had an infatuation with music and everyone knew him by a particular nickname.

“I’ve been saying it nonstop, it’s ‘D-Savage life forever’,” she smiled. “He’d be smiling down right now (knowing) that I said this in this camera.”

“I’ll forever be in love with Davelle Desmond,” she said.

— With files from Megan King

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