Humberto (Robert) Panameno leaves behind four children, but he died protecting those of his friend.
The 36-year-old was stabbed to death in a domestic incident last Wednesday at a Forest Lawn home and his loved ones say it happened while he was protecting his friend Karen, her mother and two children from her estranged husband.
“He saved me without any thought, saved my mother and saved my children and he did not think of his,” Karen said through tears Tuesday at police headquarters. “I will forever be grateful.
“He wasn’t only my friend, he was like a brother to me.”
After the attack, which included the suspect using pepper spray in the home, a Canada-wide warrant for second-degree murder and aggravated assault was issued for 29-year-old Deibi Salazar.
Following a tip from the public, Salazar was found in an acreage in Strathmore and arrested without incident.
Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta said the suspect was known to police.
“Robert is an innocent victim that has been taken from our community,” he said.
The victim’s sister Doris described Panameno as a courageous man who always showed love and compassion.
“We are devastated with what has taken place,” she said. “My mother has lost a son, my brother and I have lost a brother, our children have lost an uncle.
“But what’s even more heartbreaking is that he leaves four young children behind. My nieces and nephews will never get to hold or see their father again.”
Doris said the family has some comfort in the fact Panameno gave his life to save others and she had a message to the killer and his family.
“God is love and God is forgiveness and who are we not to forgive?” she said. “You took a son, you took a brother, you took a father from us, but I want you to know, I want you to know we forgive you.
“We forgive you because I know deep in my heart that my brother forgave you the moment he took his last breath.”
Karen said she was sorry to the Panameno family but thankful they raised someone so selfless.
“He deserves all the praise, he was my hero, my friend and kids’ saviour and I will love him forever,” she said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to support his family at gofundme.com/93552.