Friends, family remember young Alberni stabbing victim with candlelight vigil

A photo of Clifton Johnston is placed against a rock in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center during a candlelight vigil for the young man. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)A photo of Clifton Johnston is placed against a rock in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center during a candlelight vigil for the young man. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Candles burn on the front steps of the Port Alberni Friendship Center in memory of Clifton Johnston, who died tragically nearby on March 27, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Candles burn on the front steps of the Port Alberni Friendship Center in memory of Clifton Johnston, who died tragically nearby on March 27, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Candles burn on the front steps of the Port Alberni Friendship Center in memory of Clifton Johnston, who died tragically nearby on March 27, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Candles burn on the front steps of the Port Alberni Friendship Center in memory of Clifton Johnston, who died tragically nearby on March 27, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Friends and family light candles in honour of Clifton Johnston during a candlelight vigil for the young man who was killed early Saturday morning, March 27, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Friends and family light candles in honour of Clifton Johnston during a candlelight vigil for the young man who was killed early Saturday morning, March 27, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Friends and family honour the memory of Clifton Johnston, 20, from Port Alberni and Ahousat, who died March 27, 2021 in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Friends and family honour the memory of Clifton Johnston, 20, from Port Alberni and Ahousat, who died March 27, 2021 in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Iris Clarke talks about her son Clifton Johnston at a candlelight vigil to remember the 20-year-old man, March 29, 2021 in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center. She thanked the crowd of more than 100 for coming to honour her son. ‘You all give me strength.’ (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Iris Clarke talks about her son Clifton Johnston at a candlelight vigil to remember the 20-year-old man, March 29, 2021 in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center. She thanked the crowd of more than 100 for coming to honour her son. ‘You all give me strength.’ (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
A blanket ceremony was held for friends of Clifton Johnston, who died Saturday, March 27, 2021 under suspicious circumstances. The blankets were given by his family to offer warmth and comfort to his friends. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)A blanket ceremony was held for friends of Clifton Johnston, who died Saturday, March 27, 2021 under suspicious circumstances. The blankets were given by his family to offer warmth and comfort to his friends. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Friends and family honour the memory of Clifton Johnston, 20, from Port Alberni and Ahousat, who died March 27, 2021 in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Friends and family honour the memory of Clifton Johnston, 20, from Port Alberni and Ahousat, who died March 27, 2021 in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Family and friends placed flowers, candles and mementos on the steps in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center on March 29, 2021 as they remembered Clifton Johnston. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Family and friends placed flowers, candles and mementos on the steps in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center on March 29, 2021 as they remembered Clifton Johnston. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Family and friends placed flowers, candles and mementos on the steps in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center on March 29, 2021 as they remembered Clifton Johnston. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Family and friends placed flowers, candles and mementos on the steps in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center on March 29, 2021 as they remembered Clifton Johnston. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)
Friends and family honour the memory of Clifton Johnston, 20, from Port Alberni and Ahousat, who died March 27, 2021 in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)Friends and family honour the memory of Clifton Johnston, 20, from Port Alberni and Ahousat, who died March 27, 2021 in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)

More than 100 people gathered in front of the Port Alberni Friendship Center on March 29 to honour the memory of Clifton Johnston. The 20-year-old man from Port Alberni and Ahousaht had been found suffering from stab wounds on the front steps of the centre two days earlier; he succumbed to his injuries.

Johnston’s mother, Iris Clarke, invited friends and family to a candlelight vigil to remember her son. She had arrived from Abbotsford the previous Wednesday and dropped her son off for a visit, she said.

She thanked everyone who gathered at the centre on Fourth Avenue and lit candles in Johnston’s memory. “You all give me strength,” she acknowledged.

Clarke held a stuffed bee in her hands and told the crowd how Johnston, a graduate from Alberni District Secondary School, had dreams of becoming a beekeeper. She lay the bee and some flowers on the rocks near the place where her son passed away.

Nuu-chah-nulth elder Wally Samuel Sr. spoke to the crowd, talking about family. “I ask everybody to look out for each other,” he said. “We all have family.”

Samuel asked the community’s youth to “check in with your family…Please be safe.”

Elder Tim Sutherland Sr. led a brief blanketing ceremony, offering some of Johnston’s friends blankets from the family for comfort and support. Both Samuel and Sutherland had attended the centre Saturday evening and performed a cleansing, not realizing at that time that the young man for whom they grieved was actually related to them. They found out later, once the family was notified.

Wednesday afternoon the Port Alberni RCMP announced that a suspect had been arrested, but since charges had not been laid they were not going to release the suspect’s name. Detachment commander Insp. Eric Rochette said the incident appeared to be isolated, where the suspect and victim were known to one another.

RELATED: Arrest made in Port Alberni homicide

The incident was not brought up directly at Monday night’s vigil—only memories of Johnston and messages of condolence and support to family members who attended.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Alberni ValleyFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This photo shows crews the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
Central Saanich rallies around couple who lost home of 25 years

A GoFundMe campaign is currently underway for Carla and Brian Wallace

The government map (as of April 22) showing vaccine availability doesn’t have any Saanich Peninsula pharmacies listed, but the situation is fluid, and many readers have already registered. (Province of B.C. screenshot)
Vaccine availability a fluid situation for Saanich Peninsula

Government site may not show pharmacies, but registering still an option

Volunteers with the Esquimalt Farmers Market will be on hand at Bullen Field to direct attendees and clarify public health protocols. The market runs Thursdays now through Sept. 16, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. (Facebook/Esquimalt Farmers Market)
Esquimalt Farmers Market continues tonight at Bullen Field

Award-winning market features farm-fresh products, food trucks, COVID-19 protocols for safety

A member of the Belmont Secondary School in Langford has tested positive for COVID-19, the Sooke School District announced Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Positive COVID-19 case identified at Belmont Secondary School in Langford

Other school members could’ve been exposed on April 20

While Buccaneer Days public events are cancelled again, such as the annual parade, a home and business decorating contest will allow the spirit of the event to live on. (Facebook)
Esquimalt Buccaneer Days COVID-19 cannon fodder again

Annual celebration cancelled a second time, decorating contest full steam ahead

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read