It’s been nearly three weeks since Davelle Desmond, a 26-year-old Dartmouth man and soon-to-be father, died after an altercation on the Halifax waterfront. His two friends who witnessed the incident aren’t losing faith that those responsible will soon be brought to justice.
Adrienne Trenholm said she travelled to Halifax with her boyfriend Steven, Desmond, and his girlfriend Shayla to take in the Natal Day fireworks when an argument broke out with a group of teenagers, unknown to them, while they were waiting in line for food.
“These guys started picking at Davelle and Steven, my boyfriend, and it just escalated,” she said, adding that Desmond attempted to walk away before he was sucker punched.
“It was a very dirty hit. I was in the process of helping Steven, he was getting jumped by three other people … and when I turned around, I seen Davelle fall … he hit his head on the picnic table. I was just in shock.”
Trenholm, a close friend of Desmond’s for more than a decade, said the sound of his collision with the table was “so loud that it was convincing to others that it was a gunshot.”
“There was no gunshot, no weapons that I know of,” she said, adding that the individuals responsible had fled the scene after Desmond collapsed.
She said he was without a pulse for about 30 minutes before he was declared to be braindead, eventually dying in the hospital.
Trenholm’s boyfriend, Steven Roy, said a group of teenagers started “slandering” him and Desmond for “no apparent reason.”
“We’ve never met these people a day in our life, we were just trying to have a good night,” he said. “Before things could even get resolved or fixed, things got escalated very quickly and it ended up with the loss of our friend.”
After the fatal hit to Desmond, Roy said he grabbed the one responsible for landing the punch and began “slamming him around” before three other people from the group jumped on his back.
He said Trenholm was able to remove one person off of him, while two others were tackled by a group of bystanders and another two fled the scene.
Halifax Regional Police (HRP) responded to the incident on the waterfront boardwalk near the 1500-block of Lower Water Street around 9:40 p.m. on Aug. 6.
In a statement, police eventually ruled the death as a homicide.
“The investigation remains ongoing, and we continue to ask the public to contact police if they have any information in relation to the incident,” wrote a spokesperson from HRP on Friday when Global News reached out requesting an update.
But both Trenholm and Roy believe progress is being made in the investigation, as they suspect “something will happen here soon.”
“At the scene, I had the general manager of the Salt Yard Social bar come out and she specifically told me she has camera footage pointing right where it happened,” Trenholm said, adding that she then informed officials about the surveillance footage.
“I personally think they are going to get him justice,” she said. “He was way, way, too young, he didn’t even get to live half his life.”
She said that police have told her not to “worry too much” about the investigation as progress is being made.
As for the magnitude of their relationship with Desmond, both described him as a childhood friend – someone who’d “light up a room” with his personality.
“He was through and through my big brother. I never had any siblings at all so to me he was like the closest thing I had to a big brother. So, losing him was very difficult,” Trenholm said.
In honour of his memory, the couple received a sentimental item that will keep their late friend nearby indefinitely.
“This actually gave me a lot of closure. It kind of makes me feel like I have a little piece of him with me everywhere I go now, she said while holding a necklace that reads “Forever Loved” on a pendant that contained some of Desmond’s ashes.
She said that both she and Roy were honoured to receive the necklaces from Desmond’s family.
Despite those close to Desmond maintaining confidence that justice will be served, it doesn’t take away from the struggles of losing a close friend.
“It’s been taking a very big toll on me a lot,” Roy said.
“I haven’t actually been able to cope with it yet. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it to this day.”
— With files from Megan King