Walter Reynolds, a South African doctor who relocated to Canada in search of a better life, was allegedly by a Sudanese migrant at his medical practice while defending over a dozen people who were at the clinic at the time of the murder on August 10.
Reynolds, 45, was killed at the Village Mall Walk-in Clinic in Red Deer, Alberta, when police say a Sudanese migrant attacked the doctor with a hammer and machete.
Speaking exclusively to National File, Reynold’s brother-in-law Ruben Teixeira explained that “he fled South Africa precisely to escape this kind of senseless violence and to be able to safely raise a family and help people as a general practitioner.”
Teixeira described Reynolds, a husband and father of two, as “the most caring and generous person, very engaged in his work as a family doctor in a clinic he had built with a partner some years ago.”
He had moved to Canada in 2003, then to Red Deer in 2006, reported CTV News.
Reynolds yelled at the receptionist for help, prompting her to lead an evacuation of the waiting area. Two individuals held the door shut until police arrived, trapping the suspect inside. A total of 13 people were in the clinic when the attack began.
While the attack took place, shocked bystanders fled the scene. When police arrived, Mabiour allegedly threw the hammer at an officer’s head and nearly a dozen armed officers pleaded with Mabiour to lower his machete to make the arrest.
After reportedly attempting to protect others at the clinic, Reynolds succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
Deng Mabiour, 54, was arrested at the scene and has been charged with first-degree murder, assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer, according to CBC. Mabiour claims that he has no recollection of the bloody murder.
After taking a phone call from a judge while in COVID-19 quarantine following his arrest, Judge W. Albert Skinner asked him if he had understood his charge.
“I don’t remember everything in detail,” Mabiour responded. “When I get healthy, I will remember everything.”
Following a little more insisting by Judge Skinner, Mabiour told the judge “I didn’t remember everything because I’m sick. I need a doctor,” causing him to laugh.
Despite a sustained back-and-forth between Judge Skinner and Mabiour, the murder suspect maintained that his memory of the incident remained fuzzy because he was “sick.”
Royal Canadian Mounted Police believed the attack to be targeted and premeditated, justifying the the first degree murder charge.
“This was not a random attack and was targeted,” Supt. Gerald Grobmeier, detachment commander of the Red Deer RCMP, said, per the CBC.
“The individual went in with a goal, and so it wasn’t a random attack. The individual went into the clinic for that purpose,” Grobmeier added.
Speaking about the tragedy, Teixeira said,”The last two days came to show how much Walter was respected and loved by his peers in the Alberta medical community who came out in mass support for the family along with his patients, friends and the general public.”
“When the tragic news arrived everyone in the family probably believed that it had to be a mistake, or something involving some other relative in South Africa, this is something you [expect] from there, not Canada,” Teixeira added.
The tragedy struck the local community and even reached the medical community in Ontario, with the Ontario Medical Association releasing a statement eulogizing Reynolds.
“Dr. Reynolds’ violent death is shocking and devastating,” The Ontario Medical Association stated. “It reminds us of the dangers that health-care and other front-line workers face daily.”
A GoFundMe page was set up for Reynolds’ family, and has raised over $250,000 in a few days.
“On a normal sunny Monday morning, August 10th, life changed forever for the Reynolds family. Walter tragically lost his life serving his community as a family doctor,” the GoFundMe explains. “An unimaginable, horrific act of violence took him away from his loving family. He was attacked in his office by a patient.”
The post adds, “His friends, colleagues and community mourn an exceptional human being lost too soon. We all are devastated and heartbroken. He was a devout father to two amazing young daughters and a loving husband. He loved to run, be healthy, and–most of all–spend time with his family.”
“Funds raised by this campaign will solely be used by Anelia, his wife, to pay for travel expenses for her and Walter’s close family from South Africa, funeral expenses, and his daughters’ education,” the post explains.
“What happened this Monday morning was desecration: desecration of beauty, desecration of values, desecration of perfection,” Teixeira concluded.