Cops issue murder warrant in prom night slaying 0
Devontay Hackett is wanted on a Canada-wide murder warrant. The 18-year-old St. Pius X student is considered armed and dangerous. (OTTAWA POLICE image)
The father of 18-year-old murder victim Brandon Volpi hopes an arrest in his son's slaying is imminent.
That hope came one giant step closer Tuesday when police issued a Canada-wide warrant for Devontay Hackett, for second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Volpi.
"I'm getting a little more relieved," said Danny Volpi, who was growing more frustrated as the days went by. "Now I hope they catch him."
Volpi was stabbed to death outside Les Suites hotel in downtown Ottawa early Saturday, as students from several schools were out celebrating prom.
Hackett was not Brandon's friend, nor known to the family, according to Danny.
The teens went to different high schools: Hackett to St. Pius X, and Brandon to St. Patrick's high school, where his classmates are planning his memorial.
Students at St. Pius X said Hackett wasn't there much. They said he'd transferred to Pius after being kicked out of another school -- reportedly for fighting.
"It's shocking, said one student. "It's very upsetting."
Students, most of whom did not want their names used, said the rumour mill is churning and there are threats on social media of retribution for the slaying. School resource officers are aware of the online activity, and police warn anyone making threats could face criminal charges.
"I think it's a situation people should definitely not be putting all over social media," said a student. "It's a very serious situation."
Several other students who said they know Hackett did want to talk about him.
"I just don't want that to represent what St. Pius is all about," said one young man.
Students said teachers were being good about the situation, and guidance counsellors were also on hand.
Parent Rob Genio, who knows the Volpi family, was horrified at the violence.
"It's senseless. It was grad night," said Genio.
His son, tenth grader Roberto, said "it's depressing knowing that's my school."
The Volpi family, however, doesn't believe high school rivalry led to the attack that killed Brandon.
Hackett -- who goes by DJ -- was one of the names that surfaced on a list given to police, according to the Volpi family, who tried to do their own investigation.
There was a fight, say police, but the extent of it, how many people were involved or around at the time is still being sorted out.
"There's lots of people around," said Ottawa police Sgt. Dan Brennan. "That's our problem, figuring out numbers."
Volpi continues to hear two stories about what may have unfolded that night: that the popular 12th grader, known as everyone's "big brother," was escorting a nervous student back to Les Suites hotel when he was attacked, or that Brandon was inside the hotel, saw someone getting hurt, and ran out to help.
Either way, said Volpi, his son died trying to help someone.
"He would never back down from a fight."
Until Tuesday, Volpi had only spoken to Ottawa police on Saturday, the day they notified him his son was dead.
Police have interviewed dozens of students as they continue to work toward an arrest in the case.
Danny visited St. Patrick's high school on Tuesday. His son would have graduated alongside his classmates at a ceremony this month. Instead, his fellow 12th graders are organizing a private memorial service to be held at the school.
"His locker is just covered with pictures and flowers," said Volpi. "It's very sad."
Any donations will go toward something associated with the school in his memory.
Volpi's funeral is slated for Friday.
Hacket is described as a light brown-skinned man, 6-feet, 135-lbs., with short brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information about Hackett, his whereabouts, or the killing is asked to call the Ottawa police Major Crime unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5493 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477.