Mother copes with loss of son shot to death in family home
Published Wednesday, January 27, 2010 6:57PM CST
Crystal Irvine and her family continue to cope with the murder of her teenage son and his best friend. Both men were shot in Irvine’s home almost two months ago by a suspect who burst into the house in East Kildonan.
Irvine’s son T.J. Hawula and his friend Matthew Reynolds, both 18-years-old, died in the incident. A third friend was shot in the arm.
Irvine says her son spoke with her moments after being shot.
“T.J. did grab my hand and say ‘I love you.’ And I said ‘I know, son. You got to stop talking so we can slow your heart down so the blood is not coming out so fast,’” says Irvine.
Irvine was sitting on her couch writing Christmas cards when the gunman came to the home.
Her eight-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter were also inside at the time.
“Half of you is just in shock. Did someone just come in and murder my son in my own house?” Irvine says. Police arrested four suspects in December in connection with the shooting and say two of the teens arrested may have been involved in an argument earlier in the evening at the house during a party.
Irvine, a single mom, and her family are trying to get life back to normal. Her children, however, routinely have nightmares.
After T.J.’s death, Irvine also received an ambulance bill for $450 addressed to her dead son.
The Manitoba Organization for Victim Assistance believes there should be a better system for responding to homicides.
“Is it possible for the city and others involved to look at how they might flag an issue?” asks Shelley Marshall from MOVA. Officials say they're willing to work to streamline the process.
Irvine says applying for therapy to help deal with her son's death has also been difficult.
“There’s got to be some other way for this process. How many times do I have to go through the story? I’m living it,” says Irvine.
The province’s victims’ services branch does offer some compensation for ambulance bills, funerals and grief-counselling expenses. But families must complete and submit forms to qualify.
- with a report from CTV's Stacey Ashley
Crystal Irvine's son was murdered in December by a suspect who burst into her home.