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Mural dedicated to murdered harm-reduction worker painted over; community demanding answers

Last Updated Aug 3, 2020 at 11:41 pm PDT

FILE: A memorial for a murdered harm reduction worker was set up outside the Overdose Prevention Society, as the mystery behind what happened last week to Thomus Donaghy is left unsolved. Aug. 3 2020. (Courtesy Ashley Grace Burr @AshleyBurr_)

The street-work dedicated to the memory of Thomus Donaghy worked was found painted over this weekend

Community organizers and friends on the downtown eastside are demanding answers

Meanwhile, friends of Donaghy gathered Monday on the DTES to continue memorializing him

VANCOUVER — Friends and former co-workers want answers, following the scrubbing of a street-art mural this weekend which had been dedicated to the memory of a murdered harm-reduction worker.

The back-alley artwork was found painted-over on Sunday, with members of the community now asking whether it was the City of Vancouver was behind it.

The City has responded, saying it’s unclear at this point whether the artwork was on public or private property saying it’s not sure how the mural disappeared.

Meanwhile, friends of the harm-reduction worker, Thomus Donaghy, gathered Monday in the same area to remember him, including Sarah Blyth with the Overdose Prevention Society.

“He was a good guy. A lot of people are going to miss him. It’s a huge, huge tragedy but it’s been really important to come together and talk about this as a community.”

Donaghy worked in Vancouver and helped establish the city’s overdose prevention sites in 2016.

Last week he was stabbed while on duty at the overdose prevention site at St. Paul’s Hospital.

Donaghy was taken to hospital and later died of his injuries.

“Thomus was partially deaf so people always said he could always focus right on the person he was helping, he was a very special person,” Blyth said.

Blyth adds Donaghy was a hero, saving hundreds of lives through his work.

Now, she along with the friends and family of the 41-year-old, are left waiting for answers.

“We’ve lost a huge friend to the community, someone who supported a lot of people and so I just hope there’s some conclusion about what happened,” Blyth said.

Vancouver Police have yet to identify any possible suspect’s in Donaghy’s murder, which took place behind St. Paul’s Hosptial a week ago.