A woman who worked in a homeless shelter before moving to Europe was identified on Sunday as the Canadian killed in Saturday’s terror attack in London that left seven people dead.
Family members say Christine Archibald from Castlegar, B.C. was a victim of the attack on London Bridge and in the bustling produce market nearby.
“We grieve the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister. She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected,” read a statement released on behalf of the family through the federal government.
“She lived this belief working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiancé. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death.”
Messages posted on Facebook by the brother and sister of Archibald’s fiance, identified as Tyler Ferguson, said the couple was on London Bridge when Archibald was struck and killed by a van.
“I can’t breath. You hear these things so often but it doesn’t seem real. Last night in London my baby brother lost the love of his life on the London bridge. In a split second his entire life was ripped away from him,” Cassie Ferguson Rowe, Ferguson’s sister posted on Facebook.
The family asked that people honour her memory by making the community a better place by volunteering or donating to a homeless shelter.
Dr. David Docherty, president of Mount Royal University, where Archibald took courses, expressed his great sadness upon learning of her death.
“Christine Archibald was a truly outstanding student who completed her coursework at Mount Royal in 2014 and officially received her Social Work diploma in 2015,” the Calgary university president said in a statement.
“Our deepest condolences go to her family and loved ones, as well as to members of our community who are grieving her loss.”
B.C. Premier Christy Clark issued a statement saying her thoughts are with the Archibald family, and with everyone who knew and loved Chrissy.
“As her family and province mourn, we must never forget who we are – and the diversity that makes us strong,” Clark said.
“The individuals who carry out these acts of hate want to change us. They want to sow fear and division. Ultimately, they want us to turn on each other. They will never succeed.”
B.C. New Democrat Leader John Horgan tweeted about Christine Archibald, saying “let’s honour her & never let hate win.”
Earlier Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was heartbroken to hear that a Canadian was killed.
“We grieve with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones, and wish all those injured a speedy and full recovery,” he said in the statement. “Londoners and people across the United Kingdom have always displayed strength and resilience in the face of adversity. We recently witnessed this after the attacks in Manchester and in the Westminster area of London. This time will be no different.”
The Canadian government is advising citizens to be vigilant in the wake of the attack.
The attack began at about 10 p.m. local time when police and witnesses say a white van barrelled into pedestrians on London Bridge.
The attackers, wielding blades and knives, then ran down a set of stairs into Borough Market where they stabbed people in several different restaurants.
The attack lasted about eight minutes, police said, but seven people were killed and at least 48 were hospitalized.
The attackers were shot dead by police, and 12 people have been arrested in Barking in east London. Raids are going on elsewhere in the city.
The SITE Intelligence Group says Islamic State’s news agency is claiming fighters for the extremist group carried out the van and knife attack.
SITE said in a statement Sunday that the Islamic State’s Aamaq news service cited “a security source” in the Arabic-language posting claiming the attack.
Islamic State has often made such claims not just when it has sent attackers, but when extremists carrying out deadly plots were inspired by the group’s ideology.
This is the third attack in Britain in as many months. Two weeks ago, a suicide bomber blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in northwest England, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more.
In March, a British convert to Islam ran down people with a vehicle on Westminster Bridge, killing four before fatally stabbing a police officer on Parliament’s grounds.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday that police had recently foiled five other plots.
The violence turned a warm spring night in an area packed with revellers into a scene of panic and chaos, with officers running through crowded streets screaming for people to flee.