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Vigil honours youth assault victims

Westfort residents pay tribute to slain 16-year-old Kody Furioso, second youth injured in June 29 assault.

THUNDER BAY – Candles were lit outside of homes across Westfort and beyond Saturday night as the community paid tribute to two youth victims of a recent violent assault.

The assault on June 29 claimed the life of 16-year-old Kody Furioso, and left a 17-year-old with what were believed to be serious injuries. Dustin Denis Moffatt, 31, was later charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and breach of probation in connection to the incident

One Westfort resident who lives near the site of the incident who put out candles Saturday said the loss of a valued community member was felt viscerally in the tight-knit neighbourhood.

“I think it’s hitting close to home – it could have been any of our kids. I’ve got kids that age who are out biking – it could have happened to any of them.”

She didn’t know the two youth personally, but would see regularly see them around, and her children knew and were fond of Furioso.

“I feel like they need support, all the kids that knew him,” she said. “It’s awful what happened, so I’m just trying to show support – especially for his friend, because he’s going to have some tough times.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, an in-person vigil was not permitted, so organizers asked residents to light a candle at the end of their driveways in a show of support.

Westfort resident Jennifer Reid, who helped organize the vigil, said it was important to show those left behind they wouldn’t be forgotten.

“I had just made a post to Kody’s friends and family that I hope this vigil helps give you a little bit of peace and solace, that the community is behind the family,” she said.

Reid also wanted the event to mark a renewed determination to keep youth safe in the area, and an intolerance for further violence, which she said has increased in the area in recent years.

A community group had begun meeting to discuss public safety issues shortly before the assault, she said.

On Saturday, however, the focus was on the two youth.

The community had gathered strength by sharing memories of Furioso together on a Facebook page, said one resident, finding a bright light in the midst of tragedy.

The teen has been remembered as an adventurous lover of the outdoors and animals, and a valued friend and family member.

“I think our community has found some peace in hearing about Kody,” she said.

An In Loving Memory of Kody Furioso Go Fund Me page has been set up to benefit the family.

Ian Kaufman

About the Author: Ian Kaufman

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