By: James Lipsett
Hundreds of friends, family, teammates and community members alike were in attendance at Saint Patrick’s Basilica on Thursday, Jan. 10, to mourn the death of an Algonquin police foundations student Sheldon O’Grady.
O’Grady, 18, was at Club Addiction in Gatineau on Saturday, Jan. 5, when he was stabbed to death after an altercation inside of the venue.
A talented soccer player with ambitions to join the Toronto FC Soccer Academy, O’Grady’s teammates on the Algonquin Thunder soccer squad attended the funeral wearing their team jerseys, and showed their love for their lost friend by reading passages and carrying his casket.
“He was always really nice to me and encouraged me,” said Hassad Hassad, friend and former teammate of O’Grady. “If I was having a bad game or couldn’t do something, he always told me I could do it.”
Much of his family attended the service including his mother Angela, who was overcome with grief, and his aunt Ania, who flew in from Pennsylvania to attend.
Following a theme of “What Sheldon meant to his family and what his family meant to Sheldon” O’Grady’s sister Sierra-Dawn spoke tearfully about her brother as she remembered his character. About his brother Hayden, she said, “They didn’t always get along, but Sheldon was Hayden’s biggest fan. He loved him so much.”
Also there to mourn his nephew was O’Grady’s uncle Carl Guilmette.
“He was the man of the house, and took care of his mother, brother and sister. Angela was going through a rough time, and Sheldon was there for her. The last thing I got to say to him was on Christmas Eve. I told him I was proud of him, proud of the man he had become for his family.”
Rev. Richard Siok, who led the service, described him as “loving and compassionate,” adding “Sheldon is not gone, he is still with us. You can still communicate with him through faith.”
The funeral was conducted in the style of a Catholic mass including traditions such as prayers, hymns, readings of passages and communion. During one prayer, the congregation was asked to kneel. After the prayer was completed, the number of people still kneeling and praying displayed how strongly rooted O’Grady was to his religion. His family and friends were there for him, the way that he would have wanted it.
After the service, O’Grady’s casket was carried out by his teammates, followed closely behind by his mother, who stayed strong while being embraced by her family and friends. As the church emptied, the sidewalk was packed with people hugging and crying.
It was said by numerous people that attended the service that O’Grady would not have wished for his funeral to be morbid, but for it to be the way that it was, filled with bright colours and music.
In regards to the investigation of what exactly happened on the night outside of the club, the search for the murder weapon continues.
One suspect is in custody, is Ottawa resident Mourad Louati, 18, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Louati made his first court appearance on Monday, Jan. 7 at which time the case was adjourned until Feb. 5. No new evidence has been introduced as of yet.