A young Tk'emlups Indian Band member is being mourned after a consensual fight turned deadly early Sunday morning, marking Kamloops' second homicide of the year.
Kamloops police are investigating the murder of Jesse Seymour, a 29-year-old TIB youth centre worker and son of a band councillor, who was stabbed at around 3:45 a.m. on the front lawn of a house on 746 Columbia St.
"Everybody's shocked," said Seymour's uncle Manny Jules, former chief of the band. "It's disbelief, really, that this happened. Just shocking. It's so unreal."
Jules, who's known Seymour all his life, said he was outgoing, friendly and always quick to smile.
"He called me Uncle Man. He had to bend down to give me a hug."
The violence began when Seymour and a 29-year-old man known to him engaged in a fight during a house party.
The fight quickly escalated and ended with Seymour stabbed.
Emergency personnel transported Seymour to hospital where he died at 4 a.m.
Meanwhile, police launched a manhunt for the suspect involving tracker dogs. At 6 a.m., he was arrested without incident in an apartment at 196 Yew St. in North Kamloops.
The Columbia Street house is not known for raucous behaviour, according to neighbours. Chris Rae, who regularly walks her dogs down the adjoining alley, said the backyard adorned by a kiddie pool and a hammock is often occupied by small groups of people listening to music at a low volume.
"Never caused any problems that I know of," she said.
Leland Stickney, a 20-year-old who lived across the alley until recently, said he never noticed the house, but he's familiar with the general concept of young men engaging in fights when they drink too much.
"One guy says the wrong thing and it might start something," he said. "But if it ended in a stabbing, that's totally different. I've never seen that."
Police will release more information on the investigation Monday, said Staff Sgt. Grant Learned.
For the Tk'emlups Indian Band, however, the soul-searching has already begun.
"Every community, not only First Nations communities, have to look at ourselves very hard with these kinds of times and realize that we can't have nor can we afford this type of violence," said Jules. "It's just something that we have to deal with and overcome."
Seymour was a man that other band members pointed to when highlighting the possibilities of a new generation.
The son of Tk'emlups band councillor Fred Seymour and band social development staffer Sandra Seymour, Jesse was named after his uncle, a former band councillor and artist.
The young man worked with youth, who looked up to him. He had a three-year-old son he was helping to raise with his estranged wife, the daughter of B.C. Lieutenant Governor Steven Point. He was also a budding artist and hip-hop performer.
The loss is one for the entire community, said Tk'emlups Chief Shane Gottfriedson just before boarding a plane home from the Assembly of First Nations' annual general meeting in Toronto.
"Very, very tragic news for our community," said Gottfriedson. "I think every time we lose one member, even if they're not immediate family member, being First Nations community everybody is so close that our whole community right now is still trying to put the pieces together to find reason and understanding."