The family of Carson Crimeni is grateful that a memorial to the deceased teen will be allowed to remain in place at the Walnut Grove Skate Park until Labour Day weekend.
Darrel Crimeni, Carson’s grandfather, said the family wanted to extend their gratitude to the Township for the decision.
Hundreds of bouquets of flowers line the rim of the skate park, along with stuffed animals, tea light candles, cards, and messages of support written in chalk on the concrete.
The community support has been just overwhelming,” said Darrel. He noted it has ranged from the Justice for Carson online petition, which has around 25,000 signatures already, to food being dropped off at his Walnut Grove home.
“It really helps,” he said of the outpouring of sympathy. “I don’t know what it would be like without it. It would be a lonely, empty feeling without it.”
Carson was found in severe medical distress in Walnut Grove Community Park on Aug. 7 by police who tried to revive him while waiting for paramedics to arrive. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Langley RCMP are investigating videos posted to social media that show Carson barely able to stand or walk at the skate park. Some older teenagers or young men allegedly gave him drugs, and people can be heard laughing in the background of the videos.
Living a short distance from the skate park, Darrel has begun visiting the tribute at the skate park every evening. He’s met some of the same people repeatedly coming to pay their respects to Carson, as well as people visiting from Maple Ridge or Coquitlam.
Many are bringing their children and young teenagers, trying to impress upon them the dangers of drugs.
Darrel has been keeping the memorial neat, taking away burned out candles and cleaning up wax.
The Township is likely to clear away the memorial after the Labour Day weekend.
“I don’t want the Township to look like the bad guys when they tear it apart,” Darrel said.
He also commented on the announcement that the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), a police watchdog, will look at the actions of Langley RCMP before Carson was located.
A call to police at about 8 p.m. that night was prompted by one of the social media posts. Officers apparently checked at the skate park but did not locate Carson.
“I wish perhaps they had responded a little bit better at the 8 p.m. call,” Darrel said. If the officers had located Carson then, there’s a chance the boy could have been saved.
But the officers who located him later did try to save his life, Darrel said.
Carson was found later that night at around 9:30 or 10 p.m. in a nearby park after a second call. Police were working to save him, Darrel said.
“They were doing everything they could to save him,” Darrel said. “It wasn’t the police who killed Carson.”
He believes the investigation into the boys who were allegedly giving Carson large doses of drugs will be “tough.”