The recent killing of a Calgary man outside a northeast pub is a stark reminder that any violence can result in death — whether that’s the intent or not.
Lorne Kvale, 55, died in the early morning of March 21, after being knocked down by a single punch thrown by a man outside Chelsea’s Pub & Grill on 52nd Street N.E.
Homicides caused by single punches aren’t common — but they’re not unheard of, either. Data gathered for the Herald’s “Murder Under the Microscope” series show there have been nine such killings in Calgary since 1992.
Few people know that sad statistic like Karen Venables. Her 18-year-old son Devin was killed by a man who sucker punched him outside Dixon’s Pub on Bannister Road S.E. in 2002. The assailant, Devon Heil, thought Venables had stolen some drugs from his bag inside the bar — or at least knew who did. Venables tried walking away from his angry accuser, but Heil blindsided him and felled him from a single punch. An autopsy never determined whether the torn artery that caused Venables’ death resulted from the punch or from his head striking the ground. No matter — it doesn’t change the tragic result.
Since Devin’s death, Karen Venables has devoted herself to preventing more cases like her son’s. She has spoken at dozens of schools across the country and formed the DEVIN Foundation, an acronym using her son’s name which stands for Diligently Ending Violence in Neighbourhoods.
Venables’ message is worth repeating — and heeding. Anyone who steps outside the bar to settle some minor beef and “teach a lesson” might end up with a far more grave learning experience on their hands.