Police say the death of a 15-year-old who was struck by a vehicle in Kelowna, B.C., on Saturday is now being investigated as a homicide.
The fatal collision came shortly after police were called to an incident involving a “group of teens” using bear spray on a number of people in the vicinity, near Ben Lee Park in Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood.
Kelowna RCMP said in a statement Monday that the teenage pedestrian was struck at the intersection of Houghton Road and Franklyn Road around 4 p.m. Saturday.
Police said the collision was related to the bear spray incident, though they did not specify how they may have been linked.
Family and friends have identified the victim as Tristan Seeger, who succumbed to his injuries at Kelowna General Hospital on Sunday.
“I’m not going to pussyfoot around it. My child was murdered. Someone murdered my child,” Paule Seeger, Tristan’s mother, told Sarah Penton, host of CBC’s Radio West. “And I have yet to understand what on earth justifies that.”
Paule says she has no idea how exactly her son was involved with the bear spray incident described by police.
“Teenagers make stupid, impulsive decisions, but I have yet to meet the teenager that’s made an impulsive, stupid decision that is deserving of being mowed down by a car,” she said.
Friend Casey Conlan said Tristan wanted to be a lawyer when he grew up.
“I just wish for my friend to be OK, but I don’t know how he feels up there, man. I don’t know if he’s OK or not. I don’t know who if he’s doing good,” Conlan said. “I just wish for one last conversation.”
Paule says her other son, who was very close with Tristan, is baffled by the senselessness of his brother’s death.
Radio West8:58Mother of teen killed in Kelowna speaks out
The mother added that she was not seeking “retribution” in the case, but simply wants whoever is responsible to be brought to justice.
A growing memorial at Ben Lee Park — near where the collision happened — saw numerous teddy bears and a heart-shaped balloon placed on a bench in memory of Tristan.
“One of the things that gives me strength is that I’m not alone in my grief, right?” said Paule. “There are lots of people who have been affected by this and we’re kind of all grieving together.”
In a statement, RCMP Cpl. Michael Gauthier said it was a very sensitive case and expressed condolences to the family and friends of the victim.
Anyone with information about the case, including dashcam video, is asked to contact Kelowna RCMP.