The mother of a 25-year-old man who allegedly stabbed a Cold Lake First Nations man to death and injured two others says her once close family has been torn apart by drug addiction.
On September 7, police in Edmonton captured 25-year-old Clarence Lawrence after he allegedly went on a murderous stabbing spree.
"I am in no way condoning what my son has done," Deanne Lawrence told the Western Standard in an exclusive statement via email.
"He has taken a life and injured two others, and will have to deal with the consequences accordingly."
"I am speaking out as one last cry to get my son the proper help he needs, that has so far gone unheard."
Lawrence believes her son was failed by the system and said she is sharing her story with the Western Standard in hopes of helping someone else who is going through the same ordeal with addiction.
"I want to speak about the mental health system and Edmonton Police Service so that maybe someone else's family will not have to endure what both our families are going through," Lawrence said.
"We have to admit, this is a serious problem."
According to Lawrence, on September 7 she got a phone call from Clarence's grandmother stating he had come home and grabbed something from the kitchen, and left.
"She said it happened so fast she didn't realize what he took until later," Lawrence said.
"My boyfriend and I were just leaving a doctor's appointment when we heard the radio broadcast, describing my son and what he had done."
Lawrence, in a panic after hearing the radio broadcast, said she immediately tried to get to her mother's house.
"I got as far as Hermitage Road and Henry Ave, where everything was blocked off. I got out of the truck and told them who I was and gave them any information I could," Lawrence said.
"They asked me to wait on scene until someone could speak with me."
The mother's worst nightmare was coming true as she waited in horror for the EPS to locate her son.
"All I could do was pray," Lawrence said.
"I watched police with rifles drawn, schools, stores closed, parents talking as they waited to be united with their children. I can't even describe all the emotions I felt at the time. I prayed he would go willingly and that he would be safe."
"I was there a total of about three hours which seemed a lifetime to me."
Lawrence told the Western Standard her family is close.
"We have all worked together to try and seek help for my son, with this meth addiction," she said.
"We have taken him to family doctors, hospitals, 24-hour access, called the police so many times they stopped coming and would instead call to see if the situation settled."
According to Lawrence, the EPS said the only option is to kick him out or they could take him to a homeless shelter "where he would be worse off," police told the mother.
"My once close family has been torn apart from this addiction. We have tried everything from unconditional nurturing love to tough love being strict on him," Lawrence said.
"I knew and told my son that this addition wasn't gonna end well. I just never in a million years imagined that it would end like this."
Lawrence said her family's situation is a very tragic story of what addiction can do to a person and their family.
"I no longer have faith in the mental health system, nor Edmonton police, who state they are here to 'serve and protect,'" said Lawrence.
"I feel this could have been different if our cries were heard and acted upon. Both our sons lost their lives that day and our families will never be the same."
Lawrence said families need to fight what she called a "broken system."
"I hope and pray that our families see some kind of resolution from this," she said.
"As for right now, my heart is broken; I'm angry my son has done this and I am deeply disappointed in the mental health system and the Edmonton police."
"I want to send my deepest condolences to the Berland family, and let them know I've been praying for their loved ones, as well as my son to get the justice they deserve."