A family friend of Darian Hailey Henderson-Bellman describes the 25-year-old woman as a “beautiful soul.”
Henderson-Bellman was fatally shot inside a Brampton home Tuesday. Her 27-year-old boyfriend, Darnell Reid, is charged with second-degree murder in her death.
“She was such a beautiful person,” said Jennifer Vitelli, a long-time friend of Henderson-Bellman’s family.
“She took care of people. She saw the good in people. She was so selfless and at the end of the day, she just wanted to make sure people were okay, including Darnell.”
Henderson-Bellman’s mother, Michelle Jones, spoke about her daughter in an emotional video posted on Facebook.
“I’m so broken,” she said. “She was so loved.”
Vitelli has known the family since she was a toddler and said Henderson-Bellman and her mother had a very special bond.
“The relationship between the two of them was just unbreakable and now she’s lost someone so dear to her heart.”
Reid has history of domestic violence, firearm offences
The fatal shooting happened just weeks after Reid was conditionally released following an arrest in connection with a firearms offence earlier this year.
He was arrested for possession of an illegal firearm in May, Peel Regional Police said Friday.
Police said Reid had regularly ignored his bail conditions and continued to possess illegal firearms, but was still released back into the community with a GPS monitoring device after only six days in custody.
At the time of the shooting, he was also subject to an interim judicial release stemming from a previous domestic violence incident between himself and Henderson-Bellman.
Police said Reid had been arrested on four separate occasions for breaching the terms of his bail by contacting her.
Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah expressed anger at the decision to release Reid given his prior unwillingness to abide by his release conditions.
He called the decision a “complete failure of our justice system to protect [Henderson-Bellman].”
Peel police Const. Heather Cannon said there is only so much officers can do.
“Once we put [a matter] before the courts, it’s out of our hands,” she said.
‘The whole system has to change’
“It’s horrifying,” said Judy Rebick, a writer and feminist activist.
“This guy was a walking example of who was at top risk of killing his partner,” she said.
“In 2020, a judge doesn’t know enough about male violence against women to let someone with this record go.”
Rebick believes the entire criminal justice system needs a transformation.
“There still is not enough attention and understanding of male violence against women and that means the whole system has to change,” she said.
Vitelli said she’s “disgusted” to know that Reid was released even though she believed he posed a threat to Henderson-Bellman.
“They knew that she was scared for her life,” she said. “They knew that he had firearms.”
“How many gun charges does a guy need to have in order for him to stay in jail, knowing that a 25-year-old girl who has her whole life ahead of her is in danger of this man?”