Nicholas Ozoechi Nwonye was a kind person who, even in the briefest of moments, left an indelible impression.
That’s how those who knew the victim of Friday’s deadly CTrain platform stabbing are remembering the 46-year-old father of three — killed in an attack police say was random and unprovoked.
“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.”
Indeed, Nwonye was on his way home from Hersak’s lecture hall when the deadly attack took place, at 6:45 p.m. on the westbound platform of the City Hall LRT station in downtown Calgary.
Stabbed in the chest and abdomen by a man he’d never met, Nwonye was rushed to hospital, where he later died.
The man accused in Nwonye’s death was caught by police shortly thereafter, arrested as he attempted to flee the scene in an eastbound train. Keeton Michel Gagnon, 39, 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.”