Family bids farewell to man killed in Thailand
robin kuniski/for metro calgary
It was an emotional day for a Calgary family after they laid to rest their 25-year-old son, shot by an off-duty Thai police officer earlier this month.
Over 500 people came to pay tribute at a city church and say goodbye to a friend, brother and son in a traditional Catholic ceremony.
Leo Del Pinto’s father Ernie spoke afterwards at a gathering and remembered his son, who died during an altercation in a small northern Thailand town on Jan. 6, with pride, and pain.
"I feel so sad. I just feel so sad that my son had to die like this. This day is hard and it was very hard to say goodbye to my son for the last time … but I know he is in a better place," the father said, his voice cracking with emotion.
He spoke highly of his son, calling him a hero; one who died for someone he loved, but Del Pinto stopped short of forgiving his son’s killer, the accused off-duty police officer.
"The (priest) spoke of forgiveness. You know what, I’ll say it. I forgive, but I do not forget. Shot cold dead. How can you forgive someone like that? Or forget them?"
Ernie Del Pinto’s future son-in-law and family spokesperson throughout the tragedy Ross Fortune told reporters two Thai witnesses have stepped up and confirmed Carly Reisig’s story.
Reisig was also shot in the incident and continues to recover in hospital. She said the off-duty police officer punched her in the face and Del Pinto stepped in to help her when he was killed. The officer said it was an accident.
"I want to emphasize both witnesses are Thai, not Canadians and they came forward, which is great. I think the Thai people want justice, too," Fortune said.
The family has started a www.justiceforleo.com website as well as a Facebook group called Justice For Leo, which has attracted 600 members in just over a day.