An Alberta woman who lost her sister, niece and brother-in-law in the Nova Scotia rampage says it will take a lifetime to absorb and deal with the tragedy and that the family is taking it step-by-step.
Jolene Oliver, her husband Aaron (Friar) Tuck and daughter Emily Tuck were found dead in their family home last weekend.
The three were among the 22 people killed in a murderous rampage that started Saturday night in Portapique, N.S. and ended with the death of the suspect in Enfield, N.S., on Sunday morning.
Jolene Oliver’s sister, Tammy Oliver-McCurdie, spoke to CTV News Channel on Friday from her home in Red Deer, Alberta about how the family is dealing with the tragedy.
“It’s going to be a lifetime to absorb this and deal with this but, you know, it's more real now cause, you always hope that it wasn’t real or you wake up and it’s all over and it’s not. I wake up and I wake up crying,” said Oliver-McCurdie. “It’s a lot to absorb because I got my own family and then I’ve got, part of this whole other thing, this whole mass-massacre, and its just a lot to absorb.”
Oliver-McCurdie says her mother called Jolene’s home in Nova Scotia on Sunday morning but was not able to get through to anyone. She says her mother saw the news and was worried so she then called RCMP.
“So 9 a.m., she started calling the RCMP and then I was told and then I went over to her house and we pretty much spent the day there. I called all sorts of hospitals. You know from far away, you grasp and you just want to be there,” said Oliver-McCurdie.
She says they learned of the deaths at about 7:15 p.m. Sunday but that it took a few days to get details from RCMP.
“They did tell us that the house was still standing but all three of them were shot within feet of each other actually, in the house,” she said. “They were just shot right at the foyer, the front entrance of their home.”
Oliver-McCurdie says her brother-in-law, Aaron, knew the shooter and that she talked to Aaron’s best friend who said the two had argued in the past.
“From what I understand it was about that car. I’m sure my brother-in-law Aaron was pissed off that he had an RCMP look-a-like.”
She says Aaron was told that the car was for a parade and that he would have wondered when he saw the RCMP vehicle and uniform when he answered the door that night.
“It’s like he opened the door and he answered it and they shot him and then Jolene and Emily came running in and they got shot,” she said. “Now they knew the guy so I’m sure they were in shock, I’m sure they didn’t even have time to register what he was going to do.”
Oliver-McCurdie says her family is focusing on processing the tragedy and next steps and that she has connected with others who also lost loved ones in the rampage. “We have networked with each other on social media so my heart goes out to them too.”
The family is planning memorials but they are facing some challenges because they are in Alberta.
“We have a lot of barriers, being out in Alberta with COVID, and so it is a very small, step-by-step process,” she said. “We know we’re going to have memorials, we just don’t know how that’s going to happen or when. It might have to wait until after COVID. We might have a virtual memorial and then an actual memorial later.”
Oliver-McCurdie has started a GoFundMe page to help with expenses to bring their family members home.
(With files from CTVNews.ca & CTV News Atlantic)