RED DEER, Alta. — An Alberta family doctor slain in his medical clinic is being remember as a kind practitioner, a devoted dad and a jokester.
Dr. Walter Reynolds, 45, was “the best colleague I ever had,” Dr. Edward Ohanjanians said Tuesday.
He said Reynolds was a founder of the Village Mall Walk-in Clinic in Red Deer where they both worked. Reynolds took care of all the clinic’s shopping and scheduling.
Ohanjanians said he doesn’t know how he and the other staff will return to work.
The clinic, sandwiched in between a hair salon and a dollar store, was cordoned off with yellow police tape.
Ohanjanians said he was at the clinic when Reynolds was attacked Monday morning. He was unable to talk about what happened.
“I witnessed the tragic death of my colleague and friend,” he said. “It’s a difficult time.”
RCMP have charged Deng Mabiour, 54, with first-degree murder. Officers wouldn’t say if Mabiour was a patient but that he and Reynolds knew each other through the clinic.
A witness has told media she was sitting in the waiting room when she heard cries for help and people were told to get out. She said a man had a hammer and a machete.
Reynolds was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
There was a growing display of flowers and cards outside the clinic Tuesday. A medical face mask was tied to a lamp post among the bouquets.
Kristen York placed a smiling photo of Reynolds at the site. She said she snapped the picture before leaving her job at the clinic about a month ago.
“I took pictures of all the doctors and it was just to put on our TV screen so everybody could see which doctor was which,” York said while brushing away tears.
“He was the most kind, loving person ever. He was a jokester. We always joked around. He was just very, very kind.”
Maria Rodriguez, who dropped off flowers, had been a patient of the doctor for 13 years.
“He’s not only a doctor. He’s a friend. He’s an amazing, amazing, amazing person.”
A GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds for the education of Reynolds’ children. By Tuesday afternoon, it had raised $94,000.
“He was a devout father to two amazing young daughters and a loving husband,” wrote fundraiser organizer Dr. Johan Myburgh.
“He loved to run, be healthy and, most of all, spend time with his family.”
Dr. Peter Bouch, who works at another Red Deer clinic, said he and Reynolds were both part of a tight-knit community of doctors in the city who are originally from South Africa.
“We all have regular meetings and go do lectures and stuff like that together, so we all know each other,” said Bouch.
“He was always talking about his daughters … he’s always been very proud of his family and also proud of his medical practice and his patients.”
Bouch said he has been in Canada for 26 years, Reynolds for less than that.
On its website, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta lists Reynolds as being registered to work in the province starting in 2006.
“Hearing about the loss of an Alberta physician under such shocking circumstances is devastating,” the college’s registrar, Dr. Scott McLeod, said in a statement.
“It’s difficult to understand how or why such a tragedy could occur, especially in a care space and to someone who dedicated their life to helping others.”
— With files from Colette Derworiz in Edmonton and Lauren Krugel in Calgary
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 11, 2020
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press