More security at library won’t eliminate violence risk, stabbing victim’s mother says
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The mother of a 28-year-old man stabbed to death at the Millennium Library is pleased with its increased security measures, but believes the priority should be creating more supports for youth.
A 14-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tyree Cayer, and three other boys between the ages of 14 and 16 are charged with manslaughter.
“I’m glad measures are being taken to enhance security,” Cayer’s mother, Tania, said after the downtown Winnipeg library fully reopened Monday for the first time since the Dec. 11 homicide. “I do feel that it’s somewhat of a Band-Aid because we all know the issue is bigger than the library itself.”
She wants the homicide to be treated as more than “an incident at the library,” believing it could have happened in any other public place in downtown Winnipeg.
“We have a problem with our youth justice system. There’s no consequences for these kids,” said Tania Cayer. “I know there won’t be justice (for Tyree). They can put in all the security measures they want.”
The library at the corner of Donald Street and Graham Avenue reopened with a walk-through metal detector, Winnipeg police officers on site and more security staff.
They are interim measures while the city carries out a security audit.
Tania Cayer was surprised the library remained closed for more than a month following her son’s death.
While she welcomes increased security, she doesn’t believe the measures will fully eliminate the risk of violence.
“We can’t expect a security guard to stop (people) with weapons,” she said.
Tania Cayer also believes measures such as a metal detector may create a barrier or inconvenience for regular visitors who are homeless or vulnerable.
“I understand the clientele. A lot of these people live out of their backpacks,” she said.
She said her son was visiting the library that Sunday afternoon to access the internet. He was killed on the main floor.
Cayer was living in a downtown apartment, and sporadically experienced homelessness while receiving support from an agency that provides young people with help for basic needs, housing, employment, mental health and addictions.
In his teens, Cayer was a football star with Elmwood High School, where teammates believed he was destined for a professional career.
As an adult, he experienced mental-health issues related to setbacks or trauma, including his injury-shortened football career and the 2017 death of his aunt, Chantelle (C.J.) Meyer, who was a best friend to him, family say.
Tania Cayer wants him to be remembered for the impact he had on family and friends, rather than the city’s 51st homicide victim of 2022.
On Jan. 11, four days after his funeral in Steinbach, Cayer’s former high school retired his football number during a celebration of life, his mother said.
Tania Cayer said a police officer, who contacted her after the homicide, recalled seeing her son take his shirt off and give it to someone in need in downtown Winnipeg.
The officer, who bought lunch for the pair, recognized Cayer when she saw news coverage of his death.
“That was how Tyree was every day,” said his mother, who moved to rural Manitoba from Winnipeg after Meyer’s death. “His heart was just too big for this place. That’s the legacy I want him to be known as.”
Relatives will gather for a service at a permanent resting place for Cayer in the summer.
“His final resting place will be in the country with me, away from the city,” said Tania Cayer. “I don’t want him anywhere near there ever again.”
The boys charged in Cayer’s death remain in custody.
A 16 year old and a 15 year old, both charged with manslaughter, were denied bail last week.
As a general assignment reporter, Chris covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.