Remembering his brother who was killed in the September 4 stabbing attacks | Knife attacks in Saskatchewan
Wes Petterson is one of ten people killed in the September 4 stabbing attacks.
Hundreds of people are expected this Friday in Weldon, Saskatchewan to celebrate the life of Wes Petterson, one of the victims killed in the September 4 knife attacks. “It shows the effect he had on people,” says Vera Hoknes, the deceased's older sister.
It was while watching the news from her home in British Columbia that Ms. Hoknes learned about the attacks that had taken place in her brother's community. She immediately tried to call him, but without success.
It was by contacting other acquaintances that she finally learned that his brother was one of the victims of the tragedy.
Both my grandfather and my father lived to be 80 years old. They died in their bed. There was no reason to think it would be any different for my brother, she laments.
“ It's so hard to come to terms with this murderous rage.
—Vera Hoknes, sister of Wes Petterson
Vera Hoknes and Wes Petterson both grew up near Meskanaw, a community south of Weldon.
< p class="e-p">She says her brother studied agriculture in Saskatoon before finding work on a farm near Weldon. It was around this time that Wes Petterson met his wife, Sylvia.
Ms. Hoknes remembers her brother liked to go berry picking. There's nothing in the world I hate more than picking berries, but Wes loved it.
It's a love that he kept all his life, she says. He was able to pick some this year despite his health problems.
While Vera Hoknes must today learn to mourn her brother, she points out that he too has had to face the death of a loved one on many occasions.
Wes Petterson's wife, Sylvia, died in 2015 after battling cancer for more than 15 years.
One of their two children , Karen, also lost her life in a car accident shortly before her 40th birthday.
It was the latter's son, of whom Wes Petterson and his wife had taken custody, who discovered his grandfather's body following the attacks.
Wes Petterson was a well-known man in the Weldon community.
Vera Hoknes remembers her brother liked to keep things neat and tidy. He took care to maintain the graves of his deceased loved ones, bringing flowers there on special occasions.
Be sure to leave a flower for me, she would tell him. Now people will leave flowers for him.
Vera Hoknes still doesn't know why her brother was killed.
While his vehicle was not stolen, she wonders if he would have seen someone or something he shouldn't have seen.
Despite the sadness, Vera Hoknes says her family holds no grudges against the relatives of Damien and Myles Sanderson, the two suspects.
I hold the justice system responsible; [Myles] should never have been released, she says.
I'm not saying he should have been in jail, but he should have received some sort of treatment, Ms. Hoknes adds.
She now hopes this tragedy will lead to scrutiny of the justice system and change.
With information from Kendall Latimer