By Judy Pham
Warning Canadians of the high crime rate in Mexico, the Canadian government, in an update on its “travel advice and advisory” website, has noted the shooting on January 16 last in Playa del Carmen in which five people were killed.
One of them was Kirk Wilson, 49, a Jamaica-born Canadian.
According to the website, while the crime rate in Mexico is high,” arrest and detention rates are low and contribute to high levels of criminality.”
Global Affairs Canada advises travelers to “avoid non-essential travel” to western and northern states of Mexico.
Wilson was killed during a BPM – Bartenders, Promoters and Musicians – electronic music festival, an annual event organized by two Toronto men.
According to news reports, after a lone shooter opened fire at the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa del Carmen, three members of its security team were killed while trying to protect patrons inside the venue.
Fifteen persons were reported to be injured in the incident.
Wilson who lived in Hamilton, Ontario, worked as a bouncer and security guard at several popular Toronto nightclubs, including Government and Cabana.
Gavin Gerbz, one of Wilson’s co-workers, said on Facebook that “BPM has been making arrangements with Kirk’s family to bring him home, including paying for legal and funeral arrangements. ”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Wilson by former employer Karl Hale, who worked with Wilson at the Rogers Cup tournament. Hale said “Kirk was humble, respected, gentle and very well liked and admired by others. We had a special connection because we are both Jamaican born. It’s very sad and shocking to the whole community but there has been a tremendous outpour of support even from strangers to help with funds.”
Donations now exceed $125,000 which will go to Wilson’s family.
Wilson had toured with Canadian musician Nelly Furtado, who says in a statement to Billboard “Kirk Wilson faithfully assisted on our security team for several international shows and was adored for his humility, kindness and easy nature.”
Furtado has donated $10,000 to Wilson’s GoFundMe page through her music label Nelstar Entertainment Inc.
A funeral service will be held on January 29 at Bay Gardens Funeral Home in Hamilton.
Gerbz says “there are plans for a large Kirk Wilson memorial benefit in the coming weeks that will show the power of love, over violence and hate.”
Wilson’s family has acknowledged the outpouring of support through his GoFundMe page. His sister Sheryl Wilson said “I want to take the opportunity on behalf of our family to sincerely thank everyone for their overwhelming kindness, love, support and prayers. We are blown away by your generosity and kindness.”