In the midst of a chaotic situation with nearly a dozen children running amok, a young Shana Harris-Morris stopped what she was doing and gave her uncle a hug.
That hug, which was shared in a moment of mayhem, is what Ryan Morris thinks of when he reflects on the life of his 23-year-old niece, who was killed in a shooting last week.
“She would just stop what she was doing just to give you a hug. Right in the middle of chaos and all of the kids doing their kid things. She just wanted to just stop to give some love,” Morris said.
On Feb. 4, Surrey RCMP responded to reports of shots heard in the 10800-block of 139A Street at approximately 7:30 a.m.
A man was found with non-life-threatening injuries and Harris-Morris was found in “grave condition.” Both were transported to hospital where Harris-Morris died.
Police said early indications are that the shooting was not a random act of violence.
Since her passing, Morris said his family has been sharing photos of Shana. Shana, who grew up in Surrey, had eight siblings, including a twin sister.
“I see a picture of Shana holding her niece and with everything, you just get to capture that moment in time where you can see the love that a person has that they share. I can’t even begin to express what a beautiful person she was.
“I will remember those hugs.”
Morris’ family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a funeral, marker, and memorial bench in Shana’s name.
Morris said he hopes to put the bench near a dog park in Chilliwack, where some of Shana’s family members live.
“Shana loved animals. She wanted to be a vet when she got older. Shana’s dog had puppies just a couple short weeks ago,” Morris said.
Shortly after her dog gave birth, Shana took a video of the puppies to share with friends and family. While recording, Shana’s voice could be heard, taking note that the puppies arranged themselves by colour.
“White, brown, white, brown,” Morris said, recalling the video. “She was just amazed. She had this really innocent perspective on life that very few people have.”
Living in fear
While Morris said he doesn’t know what led to his niece’s death, he acknowledged that she struggled with an opioid addiction. On many occasions, Morris said, he offered to find her help.
“The opioid addiction has been the spotlight and we’re learning more and more about addiction… It’s a lot more (than) just worrying about an overdose these days. What transpired on Thursday is a far greater beast than we can imagine.”
Morris said he recently spoke to a friend of Harris-Morris, whom she viewed as a mother figure. The friend, Morris said, told him that Harris-Morris indicated to her that she was “quite scared.”
“It’s such a crazy lifestyle that people live in fear. And they’re afraid to reach out to the police out of fear for their own life and their own safety. There’s only so much we can do with the information that’s given to us… When you’re intertwined into that lifestyle of addiction, it’s very difficult for people to step outside of that.”
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has not yet announced any arrests in the killing of Harris-Morris.
Morristhanked police and medical staff at the hospital for fighting on his niece’s behalf.
“I’d really like to see the person that were responsible for this to be held accountable,” Morris said. “This was caused by a person that no longer needs to be in our communities. It’s a person that has absolutely no regard for human life. This person emptied our lives of someone that we truly loved. I will be very grateful for the moment that this individual receives their justice and justice for all of us.”