EDITORIAL: Reclaiming community

An arrest has finally been made in connection with the shocking murder of North Delta teen Laura Szendrei, 15, who died after being attacked on a Saturday afternoon last September in Mackie Park.An 18-year-old male – also from North Delta – is charged with first-degree murder. He cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act as he was 17 when the offence he is charged with took place.The news – announced Monday morning by Delta Police – is most welcome. It is also bittersweet.A bright young woman is dead after a senseless act of violence. Her loved ones will forever grieve as they try move forward without a precious missing piece. And a community is left to grapple with the sobering news that one of its own stands accused of such a brutal crime.As Delta Police Sgt. Sharlene Brooks said of the young man’s arrest: “I think today there is going to be a sense of relief in the community. There is also going to be some sense of distress knowing that this individual is from our community.”For months after Laura’s attack, a layer of foreboding permeated Delta’s parks, its school playgrounds, its wooded areas and trails. Nature-lovers travelled in pairs or packs, kids and teens were reined in by anxious parents, and a sense of disbelief was everywhere: How could this happen in North Delta?The arrest will surely spur even more questions. But it could also inspire a renewed resolve – to not allow a heinous act to cripple a close-knit community; to refuse to become shackled by fear.Registration is currently underway for an April fundraiser in honour of Laura Szendrei (www.lswalkrunroll.com/). With proceeds from a five- and 10-km Walk, Run & Roll, organizers plan to create a pair of sports scholarhips in Laura’s memory. They also aim to achieve something else.“This initiative will serve as a key part of a broader campaign to support the families of innocent vcitims of violent crime,” the website says. “We are all aware of individuals and families around us that have suffered through the loss of a loved one in a senseless act of violence and we are committed to supporting those who want to seek change.”Banding together for a better community: A fitting way to honour one of North Delta’s lost citizens.

Surrey North Delta Leader