HALIFAX -- A resident of Portapique, N.S. has created a makeshift memorial for the victims of the weekend killing spree in the community.

Cees van den Hoek bought the old Portapique church years ago with the intention of eventually turning it into an antique store.

While the building has sat vacant for several years, the events of the past weekend inspired van den Hoek to use the church as a community memorial for victims of the killings that began just a few hundred yards away.

RCMP have confirmed there are 22 victims spanning 16 different crime scenes in several Nova Scotia communities. The rampage started in Portapique late Saturday evening, when police responded to a weapons complaint.

“I knew some of the victims, and their kids were friends with my kids, and I just know there’s a lot of hurting people out there. This is just a way I can hopefully help them,” says van den Hoek.

He has put up lattice fencing in front of the former church and is encouraging anyone who wants to contribute to the tribute to reach out and send him something directly.

“Just trying to give people a chance to grieve, just a place that people can drop off cards, put flowers, or anything like that,” says van den Hoek.

He says that a place of healing in the community is important, especially because of COVID-19 restrictions, which are preventing residents from being able to mourn in a traditional wqay.

“All those people sitting at home that knew these people and they can’t do anything so they can mail me something up and I’ll put it up here for them,” says van den Hoek

He is asking anyone who would like to contribute to his memorial to send items to the following address:

6896 Highway #2
Portapique, N.S.
B0M 1B0

“Ideally, somebody within a community makes a little drop-off box in their driveway or something like that. We have to think about COVID-19 and be smart that way, but if they can gather them up and them send them to me, I will post them up on these racks I’ve been putting up.”