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Vigil held for Kitchener man fatally shot by police

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Family and friends gathered to remember 31-year-old Nicholas Nembhard, who was fatally shot by police earlier this month.

Those who attended the vigil on Tuesday evening at the site of the shooting lit candles in his honour. Many described him as a kind soul, a man of god, and someone who loved his community.

“I think he would just want us to be happy and smile and live so I’m just trying to do that and live on through his name.” said Trayvone Pingue, a friend of Nicholas. "It just doesn't seem right. For the type of guy he is, it just doesn't seem right. Why would they want to end his life like that?

"He's a really good guy. I just can't see why they couldn't handle a mental health crisis differently, why they couldn't de-escalate the situation."

The shooting happened on Brybeck Crescent near Karn Street in Kitchener. According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), police responded to a home in the area around 9 p.m. for a disturbance call. 

Waterloo regional police at the scene of a police-involved shooting in Kitchener on Feb. 19, 2024. (Hayden Phillips/CTV Kitchener)

Family told CTV News, Nicholas was having a mental health crisis when police fired their guns. His brother said he had schizophrenia, was not taking his medication at the time, and also had a machete.

"Why couldn't they get him to the hospital?" said Eaton Nembhard, Nicholas' father. "Why did they have to shoot him?"

Waterloo regional police called the incident a tragedy, but would not be able to speak to the case specifically as the SIU has taken over. The SIU’s investigation is expected to take several months.

"I just want to acknowledge that these are the most tragic circumstances for our community to the individuals involved," said Chief Mark Crowell of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. "The family, that specific neighbourhood, our community at large, including our police officers and our organization, this is something that is a tragedy of the upmost concern."

The shooting bears similarities to another incident that took place on the same street nine years ago.

In April 2015, Beau Baker, 20, was fatally shot by a Waterloo regional police officer outside his Brybeck Crescent apartment.

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