Megan Nixon and son, Brayden Steves, 5, were among the hundred who gathered in Penticton’s Gyro Park for the candle light vigil remembering the victims from the April 15 shooting. The evening was hosted by the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and the Ookanake Friendship Centre. (Jordyn Thomson - Western News)

Megan Nixon and son, Brayden Steves, 5, were among the hundred who gathered in Penticton’s Gyro Park for the candle light vigil remembering the victims from the April 15 shooting. The evening was hosted by the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and the Ookanake Friendship Centre. (Jordyn Thomson - Western News)

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Family and friends are remembering neighbours who were gunned down in Penticton as the small city in British Columbia’s south Okanagan held a vigil Wednesday for the four victims.

Jeff Schwarz says his uncle Rudi Winter, 71, was a gentle person who liked to keep the peace.

“Rudi wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s the most calm, peaceful guy you’d ever meet. If there was a confrontation, he wouldn’t address it,” he said, adding that Winter “pretty much” raised him.

READ MORE: John Brittain facing 4 murder charges after 4 people killed in shooting spree

READ MORE: Man killed in Penticton shooting remembered as a ‘nice guy’

Winter was fatally shot on Monday while helping a friend with some yard work in downtown Penticton. Soon after, another man and two women in their 60s and 70s were shot in a residential neighbourhood, RCMP said.

Supt. Ted De Jager said a suspect walked into the Penticton RCMP detachment and surrendered about one hour after police first received a report of a possible shooting.

John Brittain, 68, a former employee in the city’s engineering department, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder. None of the allegations against him has been tested in court.

A lawyer who represented Brittain during a court appearance on Tuesday could not immediately be reached for comment.

READ MORE: Friend of man accused of killing four people in Penticton in ‘absolute shock’

VIDEO: Penticton mayor recounts accused shooter’s time working at city

Neighbours of Barry and Susan Wonch, who a family member confirmed were also victims of the shootings, described the retired couple as warm and friendly people.

The Wonches moved to Penticton from Osoyoos in recent years, said Wally Murphy.

“They were probably the best neighbours we ever had,” said Murphy, adding he knew Barry for 14 years.

“I knew where the tools were in his garage and he knew where the tools were in mine.”

John Maxwell lived across the street from the Wonches in Osoyoos before they moved to Penticton.

He said Susan was a wonderful cook and the couple liked to organize neighbourhood parties.

“They were both the nicest people you could ever, ever ask to be with. When we went over, they really made you feel like somebody,” he said.

More than 100 people gathered in a downtown park for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night.

Organizers said the event was intended as a way for community members to support one another through the tragedy.

Kim Kirkham, executive director of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce, said the small city of 34,000 nestled between two lakes and rolling mountains is having trouble coming to terms with the violence.

“Any store I walk into — restaurants, coffee shops — people are talking about it. It’s affected everyone,” she said.

“Penticton’s not very big, so you either knew them or you know somebody who knew them. It’s a tough thing to fathom, happening in our small community.”

Matthew Baran, executive director of the Ooknakane Friendship Centre in Penticton, said it’s not uncommon for the community to rally behind others in times of tragedy.

“It’s a very caring community organically, that’s just normal,” he said.

He said the friendship centre already offers different types of healing support so it seemed natural to organize the vigil with the local chamber of commerce.

“We’re a strong community and this is part of the process of how we will rise up from this,” he said.

READ MORE: Alleged Penticton gunman seen ‘angrily yelling’ before opening fire

READ MORE: Grieving the four killed in Penticton shooting will take time, expert says

Members of the crowd raised candles in the air and embraced one another as some of the community’s leaders gave brief addresses.

Some said came to show support for the children of the victims. Gina Hansinger went to high school with one of the victim’s sons, while Bernie Burger said he works with Winter’s daughter.

“As a friend I was glad to see her, to show my support,” he said.

Carleen and Gordon Dyck said they came to give the family support even though they didn’t know them.

“We’re just devastated at the idea of what can happen in a beautiful town like Penticton and realize how much stress and anxiety there is in the world today,” she said.

Carrie Crossman said she grew up in Penticton and the violence was unprecedented.

“I think everyone’s feeling the same way, shocked, just senseless,” she said.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Most Read