The daughter of the White Rock man who was killed last week in Spain – when a van was intentionally driven through a crowd of pedestrians – says perpetrators behind the violent act that claimed 13 lives have not won.
“The terrorists who killed my father were trying to send a message of hate and destruction,” Fiona Wilson told Peace Arch News by email Thursday.
“Despite our devastating loss, our family wants people to know that they completely failed.”
Wilson, a staff sergeant with the Vancouver Police Department, wrote to PAN from Barcelona, where she and her husband have been since last Friday – the day after the attack took place on Las Ramblas, a popular Barcelona thoroughfare.
Wilson, who also lives in White Rock, said her parents, Ian and Valerie Wilson, had been staying in Barcelona with her son Duncan and ex-husband Robert Bates, while Duncan attended a soccer camp.
On the day of the attack – which also injured more than 100 other pedestrians – Duncan and his dad had gone to the beach, while the senior Wilsons went walking, she said.The four were to meet back up at their apartment later in the day.
“The attack happened and luckily Rob and Duncan were not injured, although they were on Las Ramblas at the time,” Wilson said.
She said it took several hours to locate her mother in hospital; she had suffered several fractures, including broken ribs, in the attack.
She learned of her father’s death the following morning.
News of the tragedy’s impact on this community spread quickly, and efforts to help the Wilson family have so far raised more than $17,500, through donations to a GoFundMe campaign that launched Sunday.
The funds are “to allow (Valerie Wilson) and her family to recover in peace,” according to page organizer, Lisa Byrne.
In addition to condolences, donors have encouraged the family to stay strong.
“My heart breaks for you and your family,” writes Diane Murray. “We cannot let these people win!”
Writes Mardel Greenough: “How devastating this senseless act of violence must be to you and your family and to the other families affected but just know that you are not alone, your immediate community and the broader community walk with you.”
In a statement issued last Friday through VPD, Fiona Wilson said her family is focusing on the kindness that has been bestowed on them, both immediately following the attack and in the days since. It’s what her dad – who she described as “compassionate, generous, adventurous” – would want, she said.
She reiterated the determination to PAN Thursday.
“As a family, we would like to focus on the extraordinary kindness that everyone has shown us during this time,” she said.
“I have so many stories of unbelievable acts of kindness that I can’t even begin to tell you them all – we even received a phone call from Prime Minister Trudeau and a letter from the King of Spain.”
Hundreds of candles, flowers and notes mark the site of her dad’s death.
In White Rock, city officials announced on Twitter Wednesday morning that its flag would be lowered to half-mast until Aug. 28 in memory of the terror-attack victims.