Bridge memo­ri­als grow­ing

Can­dle­light vigil this week­end to fo­cus on men­tal health

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Front Page - GRANT LAFLECHE

The trib­utes have been grow­ing by the hour.

Mes­sages of sup­port for peo­ple in cri­sis. Pleas to strangers not to end their own lives. State­ments of mourn­ing and loss. Cards. Flow­ers. Phone num­bers for cri­sis lines. Pho­tos of the dead.

The slate grey rail­ing on the west side of the Bur­goyne Bridge has been trans­formed into an ad-hoc memo­rial wall by those touched by the deaths of 19-yearold Tan­ner Unger and a 43-yearold who died by sui­cide at the bridge in the last week.

The notes writ­ten in marker on the rail­ing over­look­ing High­way 406 started to ap­pear over the week­end after Tan­ner died on

Oct 4.

On Thurs­day, his fam­ily and friends placed their own to­kens of re­mem­brance on the bridge — more notes, cards, flow­ers and a wreath in the shape of a cru­ci­fix — fol­low­ing a fu­neral ser­vice.

Fam­ily mem­bers de­clined to speak about Tan­ner’s death Thurs­day, but said they would do so soon.

He died the morn­ing after a fire at the Lake Street house he shared with his brother and mother de­stroyed all their be­long­ings.

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit — the pro­vin­cial po­lice watch­dog — is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances of Tan­ner’s death. The SIU in­ves­ti­gates all in­stances of se­ri­ous in­jury and death that in­volved the po­lice.

An SIU press re­lease says a Ni­a­gara Re­gional Po­lice of­fi­cer was called to the Bur­goyne Bridge for a per­son in distress.

Along­side the trib­utes to Tan­ner, hand­writ­ten notes have now ap­peared in mem­ory of a sec­ond man who died at the bridge about 5:30 a.m. Thurs­day.

“... my friend, I’m sure I’ll never un­der­stand why. Some­one else said it per­fectly: If only you knew how much you’ll be missed!” says one card taped to the rail­ing.

Trib­utes were also posted to Face­book Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day.

A can­dle­light memo­rial for the two men is planned for Sun­day at the Bur­goyne Bridge.

Ni­a­gara res­i­dents Me­gan Sch­moyer and Alyssa Del­sny­der have cre­ated a Face­book event, Stand Up For Men­tal Health in On­tario, and are invit­ing peo­ple to come to­gether at 7 p.m. to show sup­port for the fam­i­lies and to de­mand “free re­sources and a new men­tal health plan” for the prov­ince.

GRANT LAFLECHE THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Fam­ily and friends of Tan­ner Unger gather on the Bur­goyne Bridge Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

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