A candlelight vigil for the Gakhal and Saran families will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. in front of the Vernon library. Nine members of the family were murdered in their Vernon home April 5

Vigil is a reminder of violence

Fifteen years after Canada’s second-worst mass murder, domestic violence continues to put women at risk.

A candlelight vigil will be held Tuesday to mark the shooting of nine members of the Gakhal and Saran families by an estranged relative.

“For the surviving family, they want people to learn from what happened to their family,” said Debby Hamilton, Transition House executive director.

On April 5, 1996, the Gakhal and Saran families were preparing for a wedding when the husband of one of the women arrived at a home on Okanagan Avenue and began shooting.

Killed were Karnail and Darshan Gakhal; son Jaspal; daughters Balwinder, Kalwinder, Harvinder, Rajwar and Jasbir Saran; and son-in-law Roger Saran.

“It’s important to  remember the horrible consequences of domestic violence,” said Hamilton.

“This is the benchmark of what can happen when things go terribly wrong.”

In a typical year, Transition House provides shelter to 500 women and children fleeing abusive situations. Some years, that number climbs to 700 people.

“There are also a lot of women who don’t come to Transition House to stay but they reach out to us for support,” said Hamilton.

“Our services are busier than ever. It (domestic abuse) is still happening and people are living in misery.”

The vigil starts at 6 p.m. at the memorial outside of the Vernon library.

Following the ceremony, there will be Indian and western refreshments in the library meeting room, and residents will have a chance to meet with the family.

Besides relatives of the victims, the vigil attracts  friends and people who don’t know the family but were touched by the tragedy.

“People in Vernon know exactly where they were when this happened,” said Hamilton of the murders.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campaign promotes Syilx/Okanagan language and culture

To support initiative, Nsylixcen t-shirts and water bottles are being distributed across Okanagan

WATCH: Pink cupcakes on frontline against bullying in Vernon

Organizations, schools take part to help end bullying on Pink Shirt Day

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Beer and burgers to raise cash for Vernon man fighting cancer

Fundraiser hosted in honour of Garnet the Great to send him to special treatment centre

WATCH: Hollywood actor Chris Pratt shows Kamloops love on social media

The filming of Jurassic World 3 is underway in Merritt and area

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Volunteers share amazing memories of Vancouver Olympic games

A decade ago this month, Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. Approximately… Continue reading

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

Most Read