SALMON ARM , B.C. — A former foster child of a British Columbia man killed at a church on the weekend is remembering the shooting victim as someone who helped him discover his potential.
The man gunned down while attending services at the Salmon Arm Church of Christ on Sunday has been identified as Gord Parmenter who, along with his wife Peggy, had cared for foster children in the Interior B.C. community.
"Gord and Peggy were more than foster parents. They treated me like their own kin," the former foster child, who can't be named, wrote in an email.
"Gordon was driven by his faith and helping people was his way of serving God," the statement said.
"I was a very complex case and complexity is what Gord specialized in. He helped me become who I am today, and always with a laugh."
The former foster son said he wept for an hour after learning Parmenter, 78, had been killed.
Salmon Arm RCMP say a second man was seriously injured in the shooting before church parishioners managed to wrestled a 25-year-old suspect to the ground and held him until police arrived.
The B.C. prosecution service says Matrix Savage Gathergood was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault and disguise with the intent to commit an indictable offence. He appeared in court Tuesday and will next appear on April 23.
The foster son said the Parmenters took him and several other foster children in over the years because Gord Parmenter had volunteered to be the emergency placement home in Salmon Arm.
"This meant that he would welcome kids into his home who had nowhere else to go," said the foster son, who added some of his favourite memories of Parmenter are of spending time tinkering in the retired cabinet-maker's woodworking shop.
"Woodworking was his third love. God was his first followed by his wife," said the statement, in which the foster son also remembered Parmenter for his inspirational stories that helped children deal with "heartache, disappointment and general teenage pitfalls."
"Without him I never would have made it to Grade 12. I was fear-stricken at the thought of attending classes. However, I was able to reintegrate into the school system in Grade 11. I am now in my third term of college. I would not be there were it not for Gord."
The statement also references a mid-March fire that severely damaged the Salmon-Arm-area trailer home owned by the Parmenters.
RCMP reported at the time that the blaze was "suspicious and likely arson," but have not linked that fire to the fatal shooting.
Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison said the community is looking for ways to support the Parmenter family.
"We're a community of under 20,000 people so people know each other here," he said.
"He was certainly an elder in the congregation in his church. He was ... well known and very well respected in our community."
(The Canadian Press, CHNL)
The Canadian Press