CHARLOTTETOWN — A teammate of Tanner Craswell’s remembered the young man’s uninhibited and affectionate nature on Friday as a second funeral was held in Prince Edward Island for a victim of a murder-suicide in Alberta.
Tyler Vavra said Craswell, a promising 22-year-old athlete, adored baseball but his heart remained close to his family in P.E.I. while he played with the Lethbridge Bulls of the Western Major Baseball League.
“There was no better teammate,” he told about 700 people who attended the service for Craswell at the Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church in Charlottetown.
“Craswell’s teammates meant the world to him and he meant the world to us. … We shared time, we shared space and we shared love, and the greatest of these was love.”
Craswell, a student at Lethbridge College, was one of three young people who were gunned down last week on the side of a highway in Alberta.
A funeral for his friend and teammate, 20-year-old Mitch MacLean, was held Thursday just outside Charlottetown in the community of Winsloe. They were headed to the airport to return home for the holidays when they were shot by Derek Jensen before he turned the gun on himself.
Jensen’s ex-girlfriend, Tabitha Stepple of Lethbridge, was killed in the shooting and Shayna Conway, also of P.E.I., remains in hospital recovering from serious gunshot wounds. Police have said the shootings were motivated by Jensen’s recent breakup with Stepple.
Vavra and Rev. Charlie Cheverie described Craswell as a young man who was comfortable throwing his arms around his mother and father, Cindy and Keith Craswell, and telling them he loved them.
Baseball players from across the country came to the services for Craswell and MacLean.
Lorne Carmichael, who coached Craswell in baseball and hockey on youth teams, said it’s difficult for Islanders to understand what happened.
“I can’t make any sense of it. We’re just missing a special guy,” he said outside the church, which was decorated with wreaths, garlands and banners in preparation for Christmas Eve services.
Carmichael said the funerals have drawn families and friends more closely together.
“People loved Tanner, loved the Macleans, loved the Craswells. The support would be there any time of the year,” he said.
Craswell’s family mentioned the impact he had on others in the funeral program: “Tanner touched the lives of so many people. The family would like each of you here today to consider yourself an honorary pallbearer for him.”