Thompson Rivers University's business department is in mourning following the weekend death of a student who was a couple of weeks away from graduating.
Ben Kirkey, 25, died early Sunday morning after suffering an accidental gunshot to his arm Saturday afternoon at a stag party at Scuitto Lake southeast of Kamloops.
A friend drove Kirkey to meet up with an ambulance, but their Dodge Ram truck rolled into a ditch and both men were seriously injured. Kirkey succumbed to fatal head injuries and was taken off life support at 1:27 a.m. Sunday.
Dan Thompson, associate dean at TRU's school of business and economics, said Monday Kirkey was a bright student who was always respectful, cheerful and personable.
"I was a teacher of his. I'm a friend of his father's, too, who teaches here," he said, referring to Bernie Kirkey with the department of management.
"This one was the son of one of the faculty. We all knew him, he came to see his father quite a bit. Just a super nice guy."
The younger Kirkey was interested in marketing and entrepreneurship, and was due to graduate in June.
"He sure was a nice kid. Just genuinely very friendly and honest. He was very friendly with a lot of the international students, too. He was a very nice person," said Thompson.
"Last fall or this spring, he got his first motorcycle. A Harley Davidson. And he joined the Harley Owners Group in town."
As usually happens when there's a death within the TRU community, president Alan Shaver will send a letter out describing the person and his or her life, he said. Flags will be lowered to half staff on a set date.
Kirkey would have survived the gunshot, but couldn't recover from the blunt-force trauma to the head he sustained in the rollover, regional coroner Mark Coleman said.
"The expectation is he would have survived the other injury," he said.
"We were told by medical staff at the hospital that was not a factor. The MVI (motor vehicle incident) injury was the fatal injury."
The shooting occurred at about 6:20 p.m. at a stag party where some people were targeting clay pigeons.
After being shot accidentally, Kirkey called 911, then got into a friend's Dodge Ram truck to meet the ambulance.
Coleman said the driver lost control and the truck flipped over into the ditch. Both men were thrown from the truck.
Paramedics called an air ambulance and the pair was taken to Royal Inland Hospital. Kirkey's injuries were too severe and he was taken off life support.
The driver was initially listed in critical condition at RIH, but has since been upgraded to serious condition.
Police are still investigating the details of the incident, including who was at the party, which was being held on private property.
Kamloops RCMP Const. Bernie Ward said there are two aspects that are being looked at: the shooting and the rollover. What role alcohol played is a part of both investigations.
Ward said police are leaning toward alcohol being involved in the rollover, but even those who are sober but panicking in a medical emergency can not be in a good mental state to drive.
So far, police believe the shooting was accidental, but they haven't concluded their case yet.
"It's ongoing. We're trying to gather information," he said, adding witnesses to the party and the rollover are still being asked to come forward.
"It's so sad to lose anybody," he said.