Nicholas Ozoechi Nwonye, 46-year-old Nigerian, was stabbed to death on Friday in an attack police say was random and unprovoked in Canada.
“He was just such a treat to have there,” said Rhonda Hersak, an instructor at nearby Bow Valley College, where Nwonye was enrolled in the school’s practical nursing program.
“(He was) a very kind, empathetic individual. He smiled all the time.”
Nwonye was said to be on his way home from Hersak’s lecture hall when he was killed at 6:45 p.m. on the westbound platform of the City Hall LRT station in downtown Calgary. He was stabbed in the chest and abdomen by a man he’d never met. He died at the hospital.
The who allegedly stabbed Nwonye to death was nabbed by police shortly thereafter, arrested as he attempted to flee the scene in an eastbound train. He was identified as Keeton Michel Gagnon, 39, and has been charged with second-degree murder.
Nwonye only recently moved to Canada with his wife and three children from Nigeria, and was only four weeks into his studies when he died.
Hersak remembered Nwonye as a deeply spiritual man whose faith formed a large part of his life. Being the only male in the class, Nwonye brought a unique insight, Hersak said — laughing as she described him being responsible for the creation of some “pleasant controversy” during in-class discussions.
Despite only being a student for a short time, Hersak said Nwonye made a definite impression, both on his fellow students and the faculty.
“He had an impact. He had a really big impact in the classroom,” she said.
“He will be missed in the classroom. I know this for a fact.”